§ Lord Melchett
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they accept that, despite the removal of MAFF grants for hedgerow destruction and the introduction of grants to encourage planting, nevertheless the overall rate of loss of hedgerows in England and Wales has increased by nearly 40 per cent. in the most recent five-year period for which national statistics are available, compared to the rate in the preceding 12 years.
§ The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Belstead)
Government policies are designed to discourage the removal of hedgerows. The statistic quoted by the noble Lord derives from one particular survey carried out recently. Another survey carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food covering approximately 6 per cent. of the area of England and Wales showed that over the past five years there was an average net rate of removal of about one-sixth of 1 per cent.