Hedgerows in danger?

SIR - The rate at which sound mature trees are being chopped down in Devon is unbelievable, mostly for log money, the recent high profile promotion of wood fires and stoves driving the demand for more and more logs. It might be slightly cheaper than gas o

SIR - The rate at which sound mature trees are being chopped down in Devon is unbelievable, mostly for log money, the recent high profile promotion of wood fires and stoves driving the demand for more and more logs.It might be slightly cheaper than gas or electric but the cost to the environment, bird food, roosts and nesting sites is unsustainable.Councils could be more pro-active and insist on replanting of new trees and follow it up to ensure that the new trees are planted.The RSPB instead of wringing its hands and writing reports could be more vocal in pressurising councils and Government to protect the UK's trees and hedgerows. The major problem for hedgerow trees and wildlife is the DEFRA scheme that pays farmers subsidies to steep, lay and repair their hedgerows. I have no problem with that; it is the end result that causes problems. Apart from a very small number of environmentally-aware farmers, the majority do not leave any trees growing on their hedges; they do not plant trees on their hedges to benefit birds and wildlife; and every year, without fail, they use the hedge chain-flail to scalp every hedge as close as possible.Government has failed our birds and wildlife: instead of making an order to leave a tree growing every 50 metres, or plant new trees, or chain-flail hedgerows only every five years as the RSPB would like, Government makes it all voluntary. What a feeble response; the public can't 'voluntarily' their income tax, car tax, TV licence or council tax - they are all compulsory and so it should be for protecting the UK's hedgerows and trees.We, the taxpayers, are shelling out millions on these hedgerow schemes; the least the Government could do is to ensure the hedgerows are fit for purpose as environmental wildlife sanctuaries. The only way to slow the decline of hedgerows and trees is to ban the hedge-flail and chainsaw. Let them use their own labour to chop down trees with an axe. Public taxes should only subsidise verifiable, environmentally-friendly farmers and landowners. The rest should not get a penny.G R Parkhouse,Ilfracombe.


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