Agricultural desert where hedgerows are hacked to death

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From: Martyn L Scargill, Kilham, East Yorkshire.

I REFER to the letter from Andrea Bradley about hedgerows in your paper (The Yorkshire Post, September 27).

I am in full support of her concern. It is absolutely horrendous the way that hedges are slashed to pieces at this time of year.

The birds and other creatures have hardly any habitat and food supplies as it is, thanks to aggressive agricultural practices that still persist unabated, in spite of awareness of this acutely pressing need to look after the remains of our countryside and wildlife.

It is the same as regards the grass verges. These are extremely important corridors for flora and fauna, yet at the first sign of new fresh growth every April, they are hacked to death with indecent haste, leaving a dreadful churned-up desert effect. This is totally destructive and pointless. Obsession for “tidiness” and the “public safety” juggernaut again, no doubt. Perfectly crazy and misguided.

There are never any autumn berries in the hedgerows, many of which are only knee-high in any case. Why is nothing allowed to grow save arable crops?

There are hardly any hedgerow trees, yet the farmers often cut down existing ones – you can see the stumps anywhere – never even re-plant them, and slash the tops off any new trees which may be trying to grow in the hedges. This also slashes the lovely hedge-roses and elderflower bushes, which can never put on more than a year’s growth.

Moreover, there are many, many miles of roadsides without any hedges at all, hardly any across the fields themselves, and endless dreary and horrible gaps in what few hedges exist. Much of the damage may have been done in the past for various reasons, but it can be repaired if there is the will.

Even better is a narrow belt of trees running behind the hedge, very occasionally spotted. This would not only beautify the countryside infinitely, but would do wonders for air quality and wildlife. Some people complain about the holiday sites along the east coast, but at least many trees are planted, which are far lovelier than featureless acres of barley.

If it has to take legislation to bring about this planting, well then, it should be carried out. Otherwise, any talk by the powers-that-be about concern for the environment amounts to no more than false promises and windy words. All rhetoric.

I would really like people from both town and country to be more aware of all this, and to see some letters of support. It is a vital issue and is in great need of vital action.