Are we losing the fight to save our hedgerows? - Nature, Environment - The Independent
They are the living seams that have typified the British countryside for centuries. But now hedgerows are disappearing fast, and a report published tomorrow will say we are not doing enough to protect them.
Research from the Campaign to Protect Rural England has found that though hedgerows enjoy more protection than ever before, in England their overall length fell by 26,000 kilometres between 1998 and 2007. The study, England's Hedgerows: Don't Cut Them Out!, calls for current legislation to be strengthened....
Actually the research on the length of hedgerows was done by the Countryside Survey a couple of years ago and this is where the numbers come from. All the CPRE has done is gather some anecdotes and demand more powers, especially to keep the countryside all neat and tidy.
Because the story is actually that shrubby linear features in the countryside aren't in serious decline - there has been a small change in management as some hedges have not been cut as often. There have also been many new hedges planted, especially since the last figures were compiled.
The survey splits up these feature into hedges (where trees don't take their natural shape) and lines of trees etc (with or without fences) where the trees do take their natural shape.
English landowners are doing a fine job of protecting the countryside without the need of any more legislation, and if it is turning more natural rather than the CPRE preferred manicured look then I for one am happy.
The data, in kms of length, is presented below, full details in the links.