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Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many miles of hedgerows there are on the Isle of Wight (a) in total and (b) protected by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997. [105946]

We have no figures for the total length of hedgerows on the Isle of Wight, nor do we have actual figures for the length of hedgerows protected by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997. However, research carried out in 1999 indicated that more than 70 per cent. of countryside hedgerows may be protected by the Regulations by virtue of the fact that they form an integral part of a pre-1845 field system—a criterion that, when met, allows local planning authorities to refuse applications for removal. As the Regulations also lay down other criteria that can be used to prevent removal, the proportion protected may well be greater than 70 per cent., across the country as a whole.