1 August 1997

Permission to grub hedge refused

SUFFOLK farmer Mike Porter is the first landowner to be refused permission to remove a hedgerow under new government legislation.

Mr Porter, of Hill House Farm, Walpole, has been served with a notice by Suffolk Coastal District Council, requiring him to retain the hedge.

The new hedgerow protection laws, which came into force on June 1, require farmers to give advance notice to the local authority if they want to remove a hedge. Councils can then refuse permission on either historic or environmental grounds.

The Suffolk councils decision was based on the hedges historic value.

The council claimed the hedge line was shown on the 1840 tithe map, proving it was an integral part of a field system pre-dating the Enclosure Acts.

The government is currently reviewing the legislation. Its hedgerow review group, which met in London on Tuesday, has decided to look at possibly extending the 42 days local authorities have been given to make a decision.

Commenting on the case, NFU countryside officer Andrew Clark said it was important for farmers to follow the instructions of a hedgerow protection leaflet sent out by MAFF to every holding in England and Wales.n