Good news for hedgerows. You made a difference!

Back in the summer we asked you to respond to the Defra hedgerow consultation. We said that it was dull but important and we know that many of you responded to the consultation (see below).

Defra has now published its response to the consultation – click here – and it amounts to pretty much a reinstatement of what have been the regulations for decades. We will read them several times more to be sure but they look pretty good to us – and we see that others have praised them too. 

There is a problem though – at the moment those regulations are not in place, they lapsed at the end of 2023 and Defra needs parliamentary time to reinstate them. So hedgerows currently lack legal protection. We shall have to hope that farmers act responsibly and do not harm wildlife just because of Defra ineptitude – this late consultation was sent out in the Therese Coffey period as Secretary of State.

There are hopeful signs that most farmers will act responsibly because many farmers were in favour of maintaining the protections that have now, albeit temporarily, lapsed.

But do just keep an eye out for farmland hedgerows being cut between now and the end of August. If you see such management and are able to take a quick photo of what’s happening then we’d love to see them. There are some limited circumstances under which management of hedgerows was legal during the bird nesting season so please do not accuse any farm worker of wrong doing – you might be wrong. If you see farmland hedgerows being cut then please send details, including a photo and geographic location, to In our recent questionnaire (more on that probably next week – but thank you to over 4000 respondents) there was a strong request (obviously only from some of you) to be offered tasks that you could do outdoors. Well, this fits that bill. Thank you.

You could also write to your MP saying that you are glad that eventually these regulations will be reinstated but that you are concerned that they are not in place right now. Ask your MP to ask Defra when the regulations will be reinstated and ask for their support for government to find time to rectify this loss of environmental protection.

If you read the government response to the consultation responses – click here – you’ll see that both the RSPB and Wild Justice are credited with asking their supporters to respond to the consultation. Of the 8,692 responses received, Defra reckoned that 354 came from the RSPB members and 1939 from Wild Justice supporters. The RSPB has an income of over £100m/annum and a membership of over a million, Wild Justice has an income of less than £250k/annum and a subscriber base of c35,000 to this newsletter. We’ll just let you digest that comparison.

Every single response you made was counted and influenced the Defra decision – you helped send a strong message to government. We think our supporters are wonderful (and we are sure that your responses to the Lead Ammunition consultation will have been important too).

One of our aims is to give you more and more opportunities to have your say. We won’t tell you what to say but we will give you suggestions and guidance, which you can take or leave. We are in this together and you will get more support from Wild Justice to make your views known than you will from many other larger wildlife organisations.

We think you’re great! If you think we’re OK too then please consider making a donation to encourage us through PayPal, bank transfer or a cheque in the post – see details here.

Thank you!