Flaws in hedgerow laws

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The Independent Online
New laws to protect the dwindling hedgerows of England and Wales were published yesterday, and were immediately attacked by conservation organisations as having been watered down. The regulations, due to come into force in June, compel all landowners to notify their local council if they intend to destroy a hedge.

The council then has six weeks in which to decide whether the hedge meets criteria which make it historic, or of special value to the landscape or wildlife - and can then order the landowner not to go ahead. The Council for the Protection of Rural England and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said the final version of the regulations now had serious flaws and would protect far too few important hedges. Nicholas Schoon