§ Ms. Walley
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many miles of hedgerow have been lost in Staffordshire through changing agricultural practices; and whether he has any plans to enable local authorities to introduce statutory controls to be applied to the removal of hedgerows.
§ Mr. Moynihan
The surveys so far completed have not provided information at the county level. On the national position, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North (Mr. Howells) on 13 January, at column271.
It would be inappropriate to impose statutory controls on the removal of hedgerows. They need regular management, so the emphasis on conserving them must be on enlisting the voluntary co-operation of farmers and landowners. Grants are available from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Countryside Commission or the Nature Conservancy Council, depending on the circumstances.