New hedgerow protections

New hedgerow protections

A consultation on the protection and management of rural hedgerows has been launched by Defra today (28 June 2023). The consultation is seeking views on the best way to maintain and improve existing protections for hedgerows (mainly buffer strips and no cutting periods), as well as the approach to enforcement. According to Defra, the consultation responses will aid the creation of new legislation to ensure hedgerows continue to have the correct level of protection.

One of the purposes of the new legislation will be to provide a legislative framework to underpin the Environmental Land Management schemes (ELMs) options for paying farmers for management of hedgerows, including under the recent SFI 2023 offer.

Defra is hoping that the carrot and stick of the ELMs payments and the new hedgerow legislation and  will combine to help achieve the targets set in Environmental Improvement Plan; to create or restore 30,000 miles of hedgerows by 2037 and 45,000 miles of hedgerows by 2050.

The consultation closes on 20 September. The consultation document can be viewed here and responses can be submitted here.

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