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Volume 169: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the depletion of hedgerows in England and Wales in the last decade.

Various estimates have been made for past periods. However, none covers the whole of the last decade.A survey of landscape change in England and Wales carried out for my Department and the Countryside Commission by Hunting Surveys and Consultants Ltd. showed annual losses of some 2,900 miles of hedgerow between 1969 and 1980 and 4,000 miles between 1980 and 1985. A survey of environmental topics on farms carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, however, showed annual losses of 500 miles between 1980 and 1985. The two surveys used different methodologies and neither can be regarded as definitive.Work is continuing to improve information both on the rate of removal and on the extent of new planting.