Over the past two weeks the outrage committed by Persimmon Homes in wantonly removing 300 metres of mature hedgerow at Penny Pot Lane has generated a considerable number of letters from outraged residents and local groups.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has a specific policy for protection of hedgerows and actively campaigned for their statutory protection, leading to the Hedgerows Regulations in 1997.
CPRE believes strongly in the importance of hedgerows and that they should be retained for future generations to enjoy; they are the most widespread semi-natural habitat in England critical for the existence of numerous, animals and birds.
As has been pointed out, springtime is the most important time of the year for nesting.
CPRE wish to see a strengthening of the Hedgerows Regulations and also further action being taken by local councils to protect hedgerows.
In failing to notify Harrogate Borough Council of the intended removal of this length of hedgerow, Persimmon are clearly in breach of the regulations; we should all also have the opportunity to express their views when hedgerows are under threat and this has been denied.
Whilst appreciating the need for ongoing development to provide housing, this need not jeopardise such mature hedgerows and other natural habitats that might otherwise be at risk.
There are numerous local examples around Harrogate and Killinghall where, despite formation of accesses, remaining mature hedges have been retained.
As highlighted by Killinghall Parish Council, Persimmon Homes are clearly in breach of their landscaping plan, and it is hoped that Harrogate Borough Council will, after investigation, take strong action to prosecute Persimmon either under the Planning Acts or Hedgerows Regulations.
Chairman, CPRE (Harrogate District)