Casebook: Appeal case - Trees and Hedgerows - Safety concerns fail to justify hedgerow removal

A retention notice has been upheld in west Wales after an inspector decided that the appellant's need to safely manoeuvre his tractor provided insufficient grounds for the removal of an important hedgerow.

The hedgerow enclosed a small field on a steep slope. The appellant said that in difficult weather conditions the land became very slippery and the removal of the hedgerow would allow more space to turn the tractor safely. He claimed that this would make the farm more efficient.

The inspector noted that the appellant's family had owned the farm for 40 years and only once had he experienced a potentially dangerous situation with a slipping tractor. In the absence of supporting Health and Safety Executive evidence, he judged that the case for removing the hedgerow had not been made.

He noted that the field comprised less then ten per cent of the total farm. Even if it were removed from silage production, he found little evidence that this would harm the enterprise as a whole. He pointed out that the field could still be used for grazing. Since the hedgerow dated back to at least 1844 and contained many important tree species, he concluded that its removal was unjustified.

DCS No: OT100-045-703; Inspector: David Wilks; Hearing.

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