25 June 1998
Farmer fined £2000 for destroying hedges

THE first landowner taken to court under new laws to protect Britains ancient hedgerows was fined £2000 and ordered to pay £4000 costs.

Ian Prior sent in contractors to grub up nearly half a mile of medieval hedges and plough the area for potatoes after being warned by a planning official that it would be illegal to do so.

He said the seven hedgerows, dividing farmland he had bought in Herefordshires Golden Valley, created a patchwork of fields that were too small to be worked viably by modern agricultural machinery.

Planning officials said the hedgerows were important landscape features within the criteria of the Hedgerow Regulations 1997.

Mr Prior lives at Holsty Farm, Vowchurch, Herefordshire. He began removing the hedgerow after being told by a planning official not to in a telephone conversation. The hedgerows were removed after dark.

  • The Daily Telegraph 25/06/98 page 4