** UPDATE – JAN 2011 **
“From the Council website: REF: 10/02272/HNOT. TYPE: Delegated Removal of hedge. DECISION: Hedgerow to be Retained.
Thank you so much for your help in objecting to this proposal. In the end over 50 people and organisations posted objections. We are really not the campaigning sort and are amazed at the responses and outcome. However, we will be watching for any ‘repeat’ application trying to slip in ‘under the radar’ like this one tried!
Best wishes to you all, Roy & Marie.”
8 – no, 5– working days left to take action with these WoodWatchers…
Two of our generous photo library contributors has been in touch to tell us about plans to destroy hedgerow near Milton Keynes. Roy Battell and his wife have been been sharing images of wildlife and trees with the Trust for over ten years now. Unfortunately today we heard some bad news from their part of the world.
Roy told us today, “Our surroundings have been bought by property developers. They are apparently leasing all the farmland to an arable farmer and there is a planning [application] submitted to rip out what looks like about half a mile of old hedge along the bridleway – we assume to make the field bigger and to plough across the bridleways, leaving them legal but probably unusable once ploughed through heavy clay soil.”
Hedges and hedgerow trees have an important function in supporting productive agriculture, soil conservation, managing water quality, and reducing surface water runoff and sedimentation. Hedges are a quintessential feature of the UK, reflecting cultural history and conserving outlines of past land use. They perform a variety of important functions, such as sub-dividing land into manageable units; containing stock; sheltering animals, crops, and buildings; controlling soil erosion; acting as visual screens or deadening noise. At least 39 crops grown for their fruit or seed are insect pollinated, and a further 32 need insects for propagative seed production. Hedgerows can increase the abundance of pollinating insect by increasing shelter, acting as a food source and providing breeding areas, particularly where trees are integrated into hedges. The economic value to farmers of pollination by bees is estimated at £120-200 million per year.
There are about 10 mature (estimated to be around 100 years old) trees also affected by these plans and the hedge and bridleway are extremely well-used by wildlife including jays, several species of owl, kestrels, badgers and more. The Woodland Trust restores and establishes hedges and hedgerow trees on our sites and help others do so as part of woodland creation projects. We particularly support planting of hedges and hedgerow trees in schools and urban areas to inspire people to enjoy and value woods and trees. You can read our position statement on Hedges and Hedgerow trees here (pdf), where there are also references for the statistics above.
The Battells have asked us to highlight these plans to our supporters. Please take a look and if you share their concerns contact the planning authortity which will decide this application shortly. The planning reference is Application No: 10/02272/HNOT Type: Hedgerow Notification. The associated maps are under the [Associated Documents] tab (please note they appear in a pop-up window so you may have to temporarily disable any pop-up blocker to see them).
Residents and non-residents (choose ‘I live outside the area’) can comment on these plans online before the 30th November. “We just feel so helpless at this sort of destruction ‘for convenience'”, say Roy and his wife Marie.