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Volume 170: debated on Friday 20 April 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many miles of hedgerows have been removed, and how many miles planted (a) since 1 January 1960 and (b) since 1979.

Although various estimates have been made for past periods none covers precisely the periods referred to.A survey of landscape change in England and Wales carried out for the Department of the Environment and the Countryside Commission by Huntings Survey and Consultants Ltd. showed annual hedgerows losses in Wales of some 250 miles (out of a total of 2,600 miles for England and Wales) between 1947 and 1969, 400 miles (England and Wales total 2,900 miles) between 1969 and 1980, and 500 miles (England and Wales total 4,000 miles) between 1980 and 1985. A postal survey of environmental topics on farms carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, however, showed annual losses of 500 miles for England and Wales between 1980 and 1985 with losses in Wales accounting for just over 100 miles of the total. The two surveys used different methodologies and neither can be regarded as definitive.Since 1973 grants have been offered to farmers for planting of new hedgerows and for hedgerow laying. In Wales in the two years 1987 and 1988, grant was paid for the equivalent of almost 500 miles of new hedge planting.Work is continuing to improve information on the rate of removal and on the extent of new planting.