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Hedgerows: Protection

Volume 591: debated on Thursday 2 July 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will introduce new arrangements for the protection of hedgerows. [HL2408]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
(Baroness Hayman)

We have today published the report of the group set up to review how the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 might be strengthened. Copies have been placed in the House Library.The agreed report of the review group demonstrates a thorough investigation of the issues, careful analysis of possible options and puts forward proposals which are sensible and balanced. They include simpler criteria representing the landscape, historic and wildlife importance of hedgerows; and increasing the extra time for local planning authorities to consider hedgerow removal notices from six to eight weeks.Before these proposals can be worked up into revised draft Hedgerows Regulations, we will commission research into the group's proposed criteria defining important hedgerows. This should provide an estimate of the percentage of hedgerows they would be likely to protect. We will also reflect on their suggestion that, in the longer term, further consideration be given to altering the Environment Act 1995 so that local authorities—rather than Ministers—can determine which hedgerows in their area are important and worthy of protection.