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Monday, 4 January 2010

Pure vandalism

As a local resident I was totally dismayed by the wanton destruction of the hedge along Lon Glanfread on Saturday 19th December. Vandalism and nothing more, I see no particular reason for this action other than to wrong foot residents and Council alike. This was an old hedge that provided a natural boundary and shelter for road users and residents along the lane. Of course the land had been purchased by a developer a few years ago for housing but planning permission was refused on several occasions.






Hedges are protected under Statutory Instrument 1997 No. 1160 The Hedgerows Regulations 1997 (see http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1997/19971160.htm) and under those regulations any activity for a length in excess of 20m requires notification and consultation with the local authority. I undertook a desktop exercise and estimated the length removed to be in the region of 280m. It is the duty of the local authority to enforce the legislation in this matter. I understand that no consultation took place with the local authority before the removal of the hedge and its unclear whether the hedge qualifies for any of the exemptions cited in the Hedgerows Regulations 1997. As a layman I think not but would defer to someone who has knowledge on the application of this piece of legislation. I also wonder whether permission is required from the Royal Mail before work can be undertaken in the proximity of a mailbox.


Assuming the face value evidence that no exemptions exist or consultations have taken place then by removing the hedge, the contractor and the landowner have committed an offence and its now a matter of credibility for the Local Authority to do something about it. Local Authorities are often seen as an easy pushover for arrogant developers who will make a substantial amount of money should this land be included in the LDP for future development. I would urge the Council to put some effort into bringing proceedings against the instigators of this act and seek the restoration of the hedge at the earliest possible opportunity.




1 comment:

Environment said...

As a local resident, I was astonished by the audacity of this work. It took place early in the morning on the Saturday after 'Mad Friday', the one day in the year when most council employees have their Christmas celebrations.

It seems to me that this was a cynical move to avoid anyone being able to complain about the destruction of the hedge until it was too late.

Apparently a councillor tried to stop the contractors in the act, as did the local police, but to no avail.

This hedgerow was at least 100 years old (possibly dating back to the enclosure acts) and, as such was extremely important for wildlife.

It will take at least another 100
years of growth to adequately replace it - the total destruction of the hedge and the ancient bank it was growing on, is a tragedy.

The imposition of a fine on the land owner is not sufficient in my opinion. The hedge should be reinstated, making every effort to replace the species that were lost.

If the council fails to take this action, it will send a message to landowners that they can do as they please without any fear of enforcement action, and many more miles of priceless hedges will be lost.

Andy Bakewell, 22nd January 2010