In June last year, Defra launched a consultation on how hedgerows should be protected in England.   The summary of the responses and the government’s response has now been published.   There was overwhelming agreement from respondents that hedgerows are valuable assets for wildlife and the environment and protections were clearly supported.   In total, 96% of responses agreed with the proposal to maintain a buffer strip.  98% agreed with the proposal to maintain a cutting ban period. Farmers were firmly supportive, with 82% agreeing to a buffer strip and 85% to a cutting ban period.  There was consensus that hedges should be protected in law. This is what the government seeks to do through new regulations.  The proposed regulations will replicate the approach already familiar to most farmers from the previous cross compliance rules.   As before, they will require a 2-metre buffer strip measured from the centre of the hedge, where no cultivation or application of pesticides or fertilisers must happen.  This is to prevent harm to the structure and health of the hedge. The new regulations will also follow the cross compliance approach and ban the cutting of hedges between 1 March and 31 August, protecting nesting birds during that period.    You can read more about the government’s response on this Defra blog.