27 January 1999
Hedgerow plans please no one

By FWi staff

BOTH landowners and environmentalists have slammed the Governments response to the agricultural select committee report on the protection of field boundaries.

The report, which was published last November, voiced concern that traditional stone-walls and hedgerows were being seriously threatened and neglected.

Environment Minister Michael Meacher has now pledged to consider legislation to force farmers to maintain all types of traditional field boundaries.

He has already increased funding for the agri-environment schemes which pay farmers to conserve the environment.

But Mr Meachers views were condemned by the Country Landowners Association which warned that increasing legislation would not help farmers during hard times.

“We need carrots – not sticks – to get land managers to put in the time, effort and expense of restoring old hedgerows, ditches and walls,” said Dr Alan Woods, the CLAs environment adviser.

The Council for the Protection of Rural England welcomed the Governments decision to consider new legislation.

But it accused the Government of procrastinating, saying there was no need to delay the new laws.