Help save our Hedgerows this National Hedgerow Week and sign the #40by50 petition
CPRE, the countryside charity, is campaigning to plant and restore hedgerow networks up and down the country as part of its #40by50 campaign.
Hedgerows are a fundamental part our history, and the unsung heroes of our countryside. However, since the Second World War, we’ve lost around half of them, and not all of the hedgerows that remain are managed for the benefit of wildlife and our planet.
These life-giving hedgerow networks provide food for masses of wildlife. Their berries feed birds and mammals; their flowers are a source of nectar for pollinators, and their leaves are the food plant for loads of insects and grubs. They’re also rich habitats in themselves, and help give wildlife safe passage.
Hedgerows are among our best natural defences against climate change, too. They capture and store large quantities of carbon; their roots stabilise and improve soils and they protect us from weather extremes. In towns and cities, hedgerows provide useful water drainage, clean the air and shelter urban wildlife.
This is why CPRE’s petition is telling the government: take action for hedgerows. The Climate Change Committee has recommended that we increase the extent of our hedgerows by 40% by 2050, to help achieve net zero, and that’s exactly what our petition is calling for.
The case for hedgerows isn’t just about our environment. Investing in them will help our economy too. Our recent report found that for every £1 invested in hedgerows, nearly £4 can be returned to the wider economy.
Thankfully, people up and down the country are doing their bit. CPRE local groups have been mobilising wonderful volunteers who have been planting and restoring hedgerows as part of our Hedgerow Heroes initiative, with more to be planted this winter. We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact these projects have on communities, enhancing local landscapes and creating better habitats for biodiversity.
At a time when our government threatens habitats across the UK in the name of growth, it’s never been a better time to make it clear that we need to replenish our natural world, not destroy it.
There’s still time to sign our petition, which will be handed it to Defra on 17 October. We want to make sure the government backs the #40by50 campaign and gives hedgerows the protection they need – for countryside, wildlife and our planet.
Photo credit: CPRE, the countryside charity.