The parish council has a statutory duty to consider and encourage biodiversity in all our decisions. We also have a responsibility to look after our assets properly, including our hedgerows.
Over management is caused by excessively tight trimming over a long period. When the hedges are cut at the same height each year, it results in a slow decline in condition with the stems become larger and often knarled and twisted due to the constant cutting taking place above. In effect the hedge is under stress and constrained by such a regime and if we are not careful we may the hedge altogether. At some stage we need to relax the cutting regime and allow the hedge to incrementally increase in height. By doing this we allow the hedge to ‘breath’ and the hedge can remain ‘healthy’ for a considerably longer time.
Healthy hedgerows may also flower and produce berries, which in turn support a greater level of biodiversity and encourages wildlife. Good practice would encourage hedge owners to vary the management programmes for their hedges, to encourage the greatest level of biodiversity.
The parish council has therefore taken the decision to follow the Natural England guidelines and move the hedges at the allotment sites, where it is particularly important to encourage biodiversity, to the recommended three yearly cutting strategy. The hedge at the recreation ground and those at the pavilion will remain on an annual cycle for the time being.
If you would like to know more about hedge management, please follow the link below to Hedgelink UK (the partnership that brings all the bodies with an interest in hedges or biodiversity together) and also consider reading the ‘Hedge Cutting: answers to 18 common questions’ guide produced by Natural England which is available from the Hedelink information page on the link: