I've had another comment....'The tidy brigade are a real menace and for the most part totally unnecessary...made to yesterdays post which prompts me to fill the gap in my birding time allowance with a brief response on the front page, with thanks for the comment.
The Tidy Brigade.
There's an annual ritual of farmers and authorities tidying up Britain with mechanical hedge-cutters....but cutting is the wrong word.
Hedges may be sanctuaries for wildlife, but many thousands of miles of them are brutalised each year by flail-mowing from the back of a tractor, this batters them into short box-shaped structures that look neat but are useless for the birds/wildlife that depends on them, and just as hedgerow plants become laden with hips, haws, berries, seeds and nuts, along comes a large machine to cut them all off, depriving species of animals and birds of winter food and smothering the ground in a mulch of pulverised twigs. Some hedges are also flailed in spring, just as birds are nesting in them.
The amount of hedge management is appalling, some hammer their hedges more than once a year and seem to take pride in cutting them at a time when birds are nesting. Flailing can keep hedges tidy, but the squaring-off that some farmers and local authorities do rips the hell out of them. Landowners are given grants to lay hedges, then what do they do....they flail the hedges to death unnecessarily.
Local authorities are under legal pressure to keep hedges tidy and to remove all possible obstacles to motorists who can't drive a vehicle with the caution needed to negotiate narrow lanes with healthy high hedges.