My role, as the IEPAW, is to provide oversight of the functioning of environmental law in Wales and consider systemic issues relating to the working or functioning of environmental law in Wales. With this in mind I plan to produce a report on hedgerows to Welsh Ministers to:
- assess whether the existing legal framework is functioning correctly;
- identify areas where the existing legal protection may not be delivering the intended benefits, particularly in relation to the protection of biodiversity;
- identify potential gaps in existing legislation;
- identify areas where the practical application of the legislation may be impeded; and
- produce draft recommendations for how the law could be improved.
My plans to produce this report are due to concerns I’ve received which include:
- whether the Hedgerow Regulations 1997 are meeting their stated aim to protect hedgerows effectively;
- whether these Regulations are sufficiently well understood or properly enforced;
- whether the law should be applied more broadly to cover parks and gardens as well as farmland;
- whether grant funding is encouraging the removal of overgrown hedges; and
- the impact of the use of bird-deterrent netting on hedgerows.
If anyone would like to provide written comments or evidence on the above issues, please send them to IEPAW@gov.wales by Friday 30 September 2022. Please also confirm if you’re content for your comments/evidence to be quoted in the final report and attributed to you and/or your organisation. Further information about the IEPAW role can be found at Raising a concern about the functioning of environmental law.
On behalf of
Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones
Interim Environmental Protection Assessor for Wales