Thankfully the days when government encouraged farmers to uproot hedgerows are long past. We are however left with the result – large expanses of arable land designed for farming on an industrial scale, but not easy on the eye, inhospitable to wildlife and doing nothing to help slow down the advance of global warming.
Hedgerows are still under threat. Total destruction may be less frequent but care of hedges often amounts to little more than slash and burn. It is easy to blame landowners for this but, if their livelihood depends on maximising the productivity of their land, why would they behave differently?
It is for government to legislate to change behaviours at a national level and for CPRE to encourage it to do so. Locally we do our best to ensure that, when development involves removal of hedgerows, the developer is required to replace them elsewhere on the site. Is it time to impose a levy on development to raise funds to be spent on regenerating the countryside not yet concreted over?
Gayton (c) Martin Fletcher