HC Deb 18 March 1997 vol 292 c516W
Mr. Martyn Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice his Department offers to local planning authorities on how to ensure that a hedgerow's importance is accurately evaluated within the statutory 28 days if those days fall outside the wildlife breeding season; and if he will make a statement. [20272]

Mr. Clappison

The draft Hedgerows Regulations, which were laid in both Houses on 3 March, allow a local planning authority a period of 42 days to respond to a hedgerow removal notice, and so to evaluate the importance of the hedge. The draft regulations also provide that whether the hedgerow contains rare or endangered wildlife species shall be determined either by a site survey or by reference to previous records, as set out in schedule 1. Guidance on the implementation of the regulations, including how local planning authorities should apply the evaluation criteria, will be issued before they come into effect.

Mr. Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made over the last two months of the representations he has received regarding hedgerow protection; and if he will make a statement on how future(a) proposals and (b) legislation will ensure that targets set out in the biodiversity action plan are achieved. [20273]

Mr. Clappison

A total of 465 responses to the Government's consultation on draft Hedgerows Regulations were included in the analysis reported on by the consultants ERM. A copy of their report is in the House Library. These reponses were carefully considered and taken into account in the revised draft regulations laid in Parliament on 3 March 1997.

Once passed by Parliament, implementation and enforcement of these regulations to protect important hedgerows will contribute towards the targets set out in the biodiversity action plan on ancient and/or species rich hedgerows. The group which will review progress and take forward this action plan, chaired by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, will meet on 24 April.