HEDGEROWS could become champions of climate action and nature recovery, while contributing tens of thousands of jobs to hard hit local communities, according to a new analysis from the Warwickshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
It says while the government has set clear targets to increase tree planting, it is yet to set a target for hedgerows, which it believes are absolutely crucial in soaking up carbon, protecting against flooding and aiding nature’s recovery.
Research conducted by the Organic Research Centre, on behalf of CPRE, has found that the benefits of setting and achieving this target would not only be for the climate and nature, as 40 per cent more hedgerows would result in over 25,000 more jobs in hedgerow planting and maintenance in rural and urban areas.
If the right hedgerows were planted in the right place, for every £1 invested in hedgerow planting, as much as £3.92 would be generated in the wider economy.
Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said: “It is almost impossible to define the enormous value of our hedgerow network.
“Just as our arteries and veins supply our bodies with nutrients and oxygen, the UK’s hedgerow network defines many of our rural landscapes and must remain healthy to benefit villages, towns and cities.
“Sadly, half of our precious hedgerows have been ripped from the landscape since the Second World War and we’ve seen a huge decline in nature and soaring carbon emissions.”
Hedgerows are the UK’s largest nature reserve and one in ten of all vulnerable species in the UK are associated with hedgerows.
These include the hazel dormouse, the hedgehog and the brown hairstreak butterfly.