Hedges – a good response


That looks good to me. Thank you Mr Eustice.




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18 Replies to “Hedges – a good response”

  1. Wish someone would give those dates to the farmers in Lincolnshire.
    I seem to remember a time when farmers would cut one side of a hedge one year and the other side the next, thereby leaving some food for wintering birds.
    Perhaps someone would be good enough to tell me if its just my rose tinted memory or whether that actually happened.

    1. Paul – under the now defunct ELS, if I remember correctly (and maybe I don’t), farmers could get points (and points meant money) for cutting a hedge every third year (as some berries grow on older wood). Money for old rope that was. Your money, and my money.

  2. Mark – thanks for sharing the (good) response. Do you happen to know to whom one should complain if hedges are cut outside those dates – is it the local authority Env Health dept.? Natural England?

    1. You should complain to the local agriculture office – is that DEFRA where you are. Its a cross compliance breach and penalties are applicable if subsidies are being paid.

      1. Best of British, sadly when I’ve reported breach of cross compliance NE and RPA were simply not interested (and it related to ‘potential’ damage to a SSSI), in fact I sensed they were extremely irritated that a ‘member of the [tax paying] public had the audacity to raise the issue.

        You might try pushing it through your MP if you have a wildlife friendly one?

  3. I believe this rule only applies to farms funded under countryside stewardship, not all hedges. It’s a condition of grant, not a law.

    Some local authorities themselves chop hedges in the wrong season!

    1. See above Chris [McGregor].

      Defra agencies (eg RPA) appear to be set up to help distribute agri-welfare payments to many large land owners not to deliver public benefit?

      Public funding should deliver tangible benefit for the many not the few?

      1. The point that Chris McG and I are trying to make is that there is nothing to be gained complaining here or to anyone else unless and until a complaint has been made to the Rural Payments Agency (thanks Chris – its RPID up here). I know complaints here in Scotland (about loss of hedgerow I think it was) have resulted in financial penalties being applied. What is certain is that no-one on this blog or anyone’s MP can apply penalties.

        1. Bimbling, sorry to repeat my point that reporting to RPA got me absolutely nowhere, that’s not to say folk shouldn’t report it to the agency and I hope they get a better response that I did. As with many civil servants and indeed ordinary folk some are more conscientious than others and some seek value for our public funds?

          The rationale behind my suggesting about contacting an MP is to see if they get get a better response from provision of information about potential breach of cross compliance than a member of the public who is fobbed off, civil servants have a tendency to respond to MPs who have written on behalf of their constituents. It seems it can be a postcode lottery again and lack of consistency in application but ever the case across much of regulatory services?

  4. Thanks for above posts, that’s very interesting. Seems to be a case of weak and inconsistent enforcement of a well thought out and evidence based policy – and we wonder why wildlife is declining!

    Good suggestion re. the MP – maybe one to follow up once we see if they sign the Pledge for the Environment – https://www.rspb.org.uk/joinandhelp/campaignwithus/referendum/ask-your-mp-pledge-for-environment.aspx

    1. I was advised by our local wildlife crime officer that in the first instance report it to him because without certain precautions being taken (which never are) cutting in the breeding season is an offence. hope this helps.

  5. You may well find these cutting rules apply only to farmers claiming grants.
    Of course also in this area I have not seen one farmers hedge cut but lots of hobby farmers have done so.
    It is a bit of a laugh really and just shows how lots of so called conservationists jump into moaning about farmers hedge cutting once a year while millions,yes millions of general public cut their hedges every month.
    Do they not think birds including Bullfinch nest in garden hedges as well as farmers hedges.

  6. We’ve seen recent examples of MPs speaking with passion about upland and lowland moors so there are some who care.

    But like you and I, how does ‘care’ manifest itself? One of my mentors wrote at least one ‘advocacy’ letter a day to what I’d term as statute (their agencies or authorities). I try to emulate and would encourage others to do likewise. Sadly I gave up expecting the usual suspects to be advocates for the natural environment and its inhabitants in general because they have become too close to those with shall we say other agendas?

    Modern conservation appears to be too much compromise, moorland mismanagement is a prime example where conflict resolution seeking compromise has collated a continued catalogue of failure?

    [Dennis Ames] Interesting point about the garden hedge – however, a noticeable difference between ‘farmers’ and householders being that agri-industrialists receive agri-welfare payments / subsidies whereas the average gardener in the main benefits wildlife, but I take your point.

    Perhaps these subsidies/payments post Brexit should take into account independently verifiable number of species (& maybe their status) present in any area of land? Public benefit of carbon sequestration, flood alleviation, water quality etc. so the uplands would do well, so too would nature reserves, maybe even gardens but the agri-industrial monocultures? Illegal activity on any area in receipt of public funds would cause loss of benefits etc. and a level of fine?

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