Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC) is exploring plans to further improve our hedgerow network to protect wildlife and help tackle climate change.
RBC is working closely with partners to reach out to farmers and landowners to provide advice and support on managing hedgerows across the borough.
Hedges have a positive effect for both wildlife and the amenity of residents, as well as playing a vital role in carbon reduction. They’re an important component of the Rushcliffe countryside and play a crucial role in providing food, shelter and linear routes for many of our wildlife species.
Bats navigate and feed along hedgerows and over 30 species of birds nest in them. Mammals also use the areas for shelter, whilst ditches alongside hedgerows are home to a diverse range of invertebrates.
RBC has a strategic aim to increase the borough’s hedgerow network by 40% by 2050. This follows a national campaign by the Government’s Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 to tackle the climate change emergency.
RBC also has statutory regulations in place to protect hedgerows. The unauthorised removal of a hedgerow can result in a fine of up to £5,000 and lead to enforced replacement planting.
The Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Communities and Climate Change, Cllr Abby Brennan, said: “A wildlife-rich environment has been shown to provide health and economic benefits.
“As part of our Carbon Clever initiative and a step towards our plans to becoming carbon neutral by 2023, we’re looking at ways we can further protect hedgerows.
“Many hedgerows are over 150 years old and they enhance the appearance and character of the borough. They also provide homes and corridors for wildlife, which is crucial for biodiversity.
“We have hundreds of miles of hedgerow across the borough and every single one is important for the environment. Some hedges predate 1850 and we have measures in place to monitor and protect these.
“We want to engage with private landowners and farmers and we’re taking further action to build those relationships and work with our partners.
“Government support and other sources of funding are available from The Woodland Trust, The Forestry Commission and others, to assist with the maintenance and management of hedgerows.
“I encourage private landowners and farmers to find out more about these opportunities and use the free tools and trusted resources available at www.rushcliffe.gov.uk.
“We also have a free residents’ guide to planting native hedgerows , which you can download here: www.rushcliffe.gov.uk/conservation/treeshedgesandlandscaping/landscapingandtreeplanting/plantingguide/#d.en.3530.
For more information on protecting hedgerows, including advice on grant funding opportunities, please visit: www.rushcliffe.gov.uk/environmentandwaste/outdoors/treesandhedgerowsacrossrushcliffe/#d.en.45551.