03 July 1998
Government proposes new laws to protect hedgerows

THE Government has announced proposals to give stronger protection to Britains hedgerows.

Environment secretary Michael Meacher said he planned regulations broadening and simplifying the criteria for deciding which hedges should be preserved.

He is in favour of extending from six to eight weeks the notice that farmers and landowners must give to local authorities of an intent to remove a hedge.

The Government will also consider whether local authorities, rather than ministers, should determine which hedgerows in their area were important and worthy of protection.

The Council for the Protection of Rural England said the proposals were “a step in the right direction”, but called them a compromise which did not go far enough.

Conservation groups want protection to be extended to other types of boundaries including earth and stone banks topped by gorse, dry-stone walls and ditches and dikes.