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The Management of Hedgerows (England) Regulations 2024 now Law!

In April, the Government announced its intention to introduce hedgerow protections, which had lapsed as cross compliance with European rules ended at the beginning of the year. 

Now The Management of Hedgerows (England) Regulations 2024 has been made into law, effective from May 23, 2024, providing a legal baseline for hedgerow management practices. 

This includes: 

  • a 2-metre buffer strip, measured from the centre of a hedgerow, where a green cover must be established and maintained. Also, no cultivation or the application of pesticides or fertilisers should take place within this buffer strip. 
  • a hedgerow cutting ban from 1 March to 31 August (inclusive). 

The new legislation broadly mirrors the previous approach under cross compliance, which should make it straightforward for farmers and others who are familiar with the requirements. 

The Government says the regulations will be enforced by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), in “a fair and proportionate way” and the RPA has been talking to farmers and others about the best approaches. From day one, the RPA says it will take an “advice-led approach”, with stronger actions in only the worst cases.  

The RPA will hold a public consultation on how to implement and enforce these protections in due course. Hedgelink members will be working with the RPA on how best to do this. 

To find out more, please visit https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2024/05/23/hedgerow-regulations-now-law/