Worcestershire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Hedgerow Survey

Clee Hill, Shropshire Clee Hill, Shropshire Photo: © Andrew Roland/Shutterstock.com;

Following the recommendation in 2009 by the South Worcestershire Joint Core Strategy that up to 4000 homes should be built to the west of Worcester (in the
parishes of Broadheath and Rushwick), we decided to fund a hedgerow survey of the area.

Fortunately, as a member of the Joint Advisory Committee of the Malvern Hills AONB, I was aware that Deborah Lashley had undertaken a hedgerow survey
of the AONB in 2009, and she agreed to take on this new task during the summer of 2010.

Early in the year, DEFRA announced that it would make grants available for hedgerow surveys, and we were given a grant of £2,500, which covered more than half of the total cost. Supportive mapping and historical information were supplied by the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre and the County Council's Historic Environment and Archaeology Service.

Having obtained the permission ofthe numerous landowners, Miss Lashley commenced the survey in May and continued until the end of September, working from south to north. The total length of all 79 hedgerows within the area is over nine miles and she made a detailed examination of 30-metre sections within each hedgerow. She also took note of the 61 veteran trees in the fields and hedges.

Miss Lashley concluded that 19 hedgerows were important under the 1997 Hedgerow Regulations, and that an additional 24 hedges were possible candidates. Since it is easier to recognise plant species in early summer than later in the year, some of the hedges need to be re-examined during May and June 2010 and this work will be funded by us.

The map of the currently identified sections of important hedgerows, when augmented by several additional hedges, will increase the strength of our objection to housing development in this area on anything like the scale recently proposed.

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