RSPB: Thousands of miles of wildlife-rich hedgerows at risk from changes in farming



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Without immediate action to bridge new gaps in agricultural policy, thousands of miles of England’s wildlife-rich hedgerows could be at risk, rspb has warned.



Healthy, well-managed hedgerows provide habitat and food resources for birds, insects and mammals and form a network of wildlife corridors through the countryside, as well as absorb carbon to help combat climate change. We do.

An RSPB report said that the threatened yellow hammerheads, bats and hedgehogs are among the wildlife that depend on hedgerows.



547,000 km (340,000 mi) Hedgero criss-crossing english Rural areas provide benefits for farmers, from providing shelter for livestock to providing habitat for beneficial insects that help with crop pollination and natural pest control.

Yellowhammers are among birds that depend on hedgerows (Ben Andrews/RSPB/PA)

but as England The report warned that a shift from the EU’s general agricultural policy to a post-Brexit system, which rewards farmers and landowners for public goods such as nature-friendly land management, will lead to gaps in the level of protection.



Under the EU’s agricultural subsidy scheme, “cross compliance” measures were taken to ensure farmers were meeting minimum environmental standards to receive payment, covering an estimated 240,000 miles.

Agro-environmental plans have led to the restoration and construction of nearly 37,000 miles of enclosure across England.

But the link between payments and cross compliance measures will be severed in 2024 as part of the transition away from EU rule, which was based mostly on the amount of land cultivated.

And when future hedgerow management is included in the “Sustainable Farming Incentive” (SFI), which aims to replace the old system, it will not achieve 100% faster, the report warned.

The RSPB said tens of thousands of miles of distance could be at risk.

They will rely on hedgerow regulations brought in in 1997 to prevent large-scale loss of hedges between 1950 and 1990, but they do not protect all existing hedgerows and can be difficult to enforce.

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