Relief over withdrawal of hedgerow removal application

Thursday 17th January 2013

Yellowhammers rely heavily on hedgerows for their habitatYellowhammers rely heavily on hedgerows for their habitat

News that farmer Fraser Jones has withdrawn his application to remove 11.3km of hedgerows, near Shrewsbury, is today welcomed by The Wildlife Trusts.

The news comes on the final day for comments on this case. Had the County Council granted the application, 37 individual fields would have been lost.

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscapes for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “Hedgerows, one of the defining features of the countryside, are vitally important to wildlife. A recent survey of an English hedge revealed the presence of 1,671 species including butterflies, moths, bees, birds, small mammals and numerous invertebrates.”

A public outcry against the plan resulted in more than 350 comments being submitted to Shropshire County Council from local people, leading environmentalists and academics around the country.

Hedgerows, one of the defining features of our countryside, are vitally important to wildlife

The Chirbury application revealed the weakness of the current Hedgerow Regulations to protect this essential part of our landscape,” said Colin Preston, Director of Shropshire Wildlife Trust. “While hedgerows are recognised as a priority habitat within the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, the regulations do not adequately support their continued survival and good maintenance.

We would like to see the regulations strengthened so that the hedgerow network and the wildlife that lives within it are no longer subjected to threats of destruction - as it has been at Chirbury - but will be valued and appropriately looked after as an intrinsic part of the landscape.”