We visited the plot today to get rid of some wood from the hedge bottom. The wood was rotten and went to the newly refurbished local recycling site, which was much easier to use than before. The reason I did this was due to a letter from the parish council, the site landlords, asking people to clear up any such rubbish.
The letter suggested that access was needed to deal with rabbits that were causing problems. Given my battle with rabbits you might expect that I would be happy, but I was not. The letter went on to say access was needed to remove the hedge and replace it with a fence. I wrote an email to say how unhappy I was about this. Removing countryside hedgerows is the kind of vandalism that I thought we were leaving behind. Since the rabbits burrow under the hedge I didn't see how a fence would help. It seems that a parish council meeting had decided all of this and was was setting about it without discussing it with tenants.
I got a reply from a councillor who is also the guy who farms the field at the other side of the hedge. He said the hedge is staying and indeed will be improved by removing elder and replanting suitable species. The fence would supplement the hedge and it would be dug down 12 inches to prevent burrowing under it.
I replied with more detailed concerns, but I have not had any response yet. Let's remember that any action the council takes will be paid for by public money, so they need to be able to justify its value.
Rabbits are a concern, but destroying hedgerows is not going to stop rabbits. The majority of damage to fenced plots was not from rabbits. There are rats, pigeons, crows, partridges, mice, slugs, snails, caterpillars and possibly deer all causing problems, rabbits are just more visible than the rest. I believe rats have caused more damage in the past year. The contractor the council asked said there was no sign of rats, even though the council chairman himself found a dead rat on his plot last year, to go with the others found elsewhere on the site.
Let's see what letter arrives after the next council meeting.