Thursday, 21 March 2013

Losing the hedge?

The parish council, from whom I rent my allotment, have written to me again to confirm that they intend to pull up about 70m of hedge and replace it with what they call a secure rabbit proof fence. The site is a rectangle, with the northern and southern boundaries being about 80m and the eastern and western about 50m. The southern boundary has two entrances in it, one at each end, which are open. I have walked the length of the northern boundary and I can plainly see two rabbit holes, but there may be more hidden from view amongst the stuff on people's plots.  Across the road from the southern boundary is some land surrounding the Water Tower which is not cultivated nor obviously managed. There are rabbit holes there and rabbits have been seen running across the road from the allotment site to take cover in there.

The plan now is to grub up most of the existing hedge along the northern side of the site, dispose of the rabbit holes, build a secure, rabbit-proof fence and then next year, replant the hedge along its existing line.

My questions are:

Why will fencing 80m of the 260m boundary prevent rabbits entering the site?

When the main reservoir of rabbits seems to be to the south not the north, why is a fence being proposed to the north?

Do the parish council know they cannot remove a hedge without permission from the county council (1997 Hedgerow regulations)?

Will any nesting birds be disturbed by grubbing up the hedge, contrary to the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act?

What other steps have the council taken to minimise the disturbance to existing wildlife (other than rabbits)?

Why did the council press on with this without seeking any consultation with plot holders about this?

Is putting up this secure, rabbit-proof fence really a good use of public funds?

Will funds to replant the hedge next year really still be available?

When the job is done and the money spent, if we still get rabbits on the allotment site who's head will roll?

I would like to see the back of the rabbits. I would like to see the hedge improved, especially elder replaced with, say, hawthorn. I'm just not sure that the upheaval of grubbing out a hedge in the spring, the nesting season, replacing it with a fence and hoping a new hedge gets planted next year is the right way forward.

1 comment:

Adam said...

The policy across the Country is to try and re-instate hedgerows, why would they want to remove them? This seems such a backward move. I wish you luck in your fight for this one. Unless they bury the fence a good meter+ underground and completely surround the allotments the rabbits will get in..
I reckon they're wasting money and damaging the eco-system.