Consultation on Protecting Hedgerows

Closed 20 Sep 2023

Opened 28 Jun 2023


Hedgerows are important ecological building blocks across our landscapes. They provide habitat, act as wildlife corridors, slow soil erosion and water run-off, support crop pollinators and sequester carbon.

As we replace the EU’s land-based subsidies with our new farming schemes, we also move away from cross compliance regulation. We are improving the way farm regulation works to make it fairer, clearer and more proportionate and effective, while working in partnership with industry to deliver our environmental targets.

Currently, farmers must not remove hedgerows without prior notice given to local planning authorities, must maintain a buffer strip along their hedgerows, and must not cut or trim hedgerows during bird nesting and rearing season.

We want to ensure the regulations work for wildlife, the environment and for farmers. This consultation is seeking your views on the best way to maintain and improve existing protections, as well as our approach to enforcement.

We are also seeking your views on where we should focus our ambitions for future hedgerow protections. 

We would like everyone who cares about hedgerows – including farmers, stakeholder organisations and members of the public – to read our consultation document and share their views on our plans.

This consultation is designed to help us shape what our requirements should be and what the future of hedgerow protections could look like.



  • Charities/Voluntary Organisations
  • Environmental campaigners
  • Government Agencies
  • National Park Authorities
  • Local Authorities
  • Policy Teams
  • Local Authorities
  • All Defra staff and ALBs
  • Non-Government Organisation
  • Member of the General Public
  • Landowners and their representative bodies
  • Walkers
  • Horse riders
  • Families
  • Students
  • Farmers
  • SME businesses
  • Horticulture Industry
  • Tenant Farmers
  • Agricultural Landlords
  • Agricultural Valuers
  • Land Agents
  • Environmental Health Officers
  • Professional and Membership Organisations/Agencies
  • Public Bodies
  • Consultants
  • Stakeholders


  • Natural environment
  • Local nature partnerships
  • Biodiversity
  • Plants
  • Animals
  • Tree and plant health
  • Climate change
  • Green infrastructure
  • Ecosystems services
  • Deforestation
  • Illegal logging
  • Green economy
  • Sustainable development
  • National Adaptation Programme
  • Local environments
  • Consultations
  • DEFRA Policy
  • Policy and Delivery
  • Sheep and goats
  • Livestock identification and movement
  • Growing and crops
  • Bee health
  • Farm management
  • Single Payment Scheme (SPS)
  • Cross compliance
  • Common Agricultural Reform (CAP)
  • Land management
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Uplands
  • Soil
  • Forestry
  • Access to countryside and coast
  • Forestry
  • National Parks
  • Nature reserves
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Common land
  • Conservation
  • Towns and village greens
  • Industry organisations representing tenant farmers and landlords
  • Rural Properties
  • Horses
  • Wildlife crime
  • Wildlife management
  • Protecting wildlife