The Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) are currently conducting a national survey of hedges to highlight shortcomings in recent legislation to protect them. CPRE fears that because this new law relies on a system of notification of hedgerow removal by the landowner the local authority (Sheffield Council) will have limited time to find out if the hedgerow is ‘important’ (according to a complex set of criteria) to serve notice for its retention.. Failure to do so will mean that the council loose the right to object to the removal. Many local authorities have little existing information on hedgerows and the CPRE survey is intended to provide information which could help them protect ‘important’ hedgerows. CPRE believe that the new legislation has only succeeded in giving protection to as little as 1 in 5 existing hedgerows. Recent figures show that since 1984 hedgerow loss in Britain has been a staggering 150,000 miles. The future for the remaining 200,000+ miles looks bleak.
By taking part in CPRE’s survey you can help stem the loss - many are along public rights of way and access is no problem. Recording the woody plants and other wildlife, looking through old photographs, paintings, drawings, maps and historical documents at you local library or public records office may give you a fascinating insight into the history and ecology of one of our most cherished features of the countryside.
If you want to get involved with CPRE’s hedgerow survey and help protect hedgerows then contact Jim Flanagan, CPRE Hedgerow Survey Co-ordinator for South Yorkshire & the Peak District, on 0114 2665822 or 2885503 for further information and a Hedgerow Action Pack.
Help Protect Hedgerows!