§ Mr. Alex Carlile
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many hedge planting and hedge repair schemes were carried out in rural areas in each year since 1979; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Maclean
[holding answer 15 March 1993]: Grants for hedgerow planting and for major repairs have been available under the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food's farm and conservation grant scheme and its predecessors since 1976. Farmers in environmentally sensitive areas may also benefit from the option of planting and repairing hedgerows under conservation plans. However, the information requested with regard to these schemes can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Incentives are also offered under schemes run by the Countryside Commission. The countryside stewardship scheme seeks to conserve those features of the landscape which contribute to the preservation and abundance of our wildlife. The precise number of agreements involving hedgerow restoration and planting is not known, but an approximate figure since the scheme's launch in July 1991 is 344 agreements. The hedgerow incentive scheme provides grant aid for the restoration and management of our most valuable hedgerows. Since its launch in July 1992, 481 agreements have been made.