Hedgerows lend beauty and character to rural landscapes and play an integral part in defining the historical landscape of the Borough.
Much of rural Doncaster is characteristic of Lowland Britain's planned countryside having been "laid out hurriedly in a drawing-office at the enclosure of each parish, and has a mass produced quality of regular fields and straight roads" Oliver Rackham - The History Of The Countryside (1976).
There are, in addition, many hedgerows that pre-date Parliamentary Enclosure (1720-1840). Hence, hedgerows are like a 'living book' that enables us to 'read' the countryside.
All the rural hedgerows within the Doncaster Borough, which total 1,413 miles, are recorded and classified on a Geographical Information System (GIS). Lottery funding has enabled the Council to undertake historic research and provide a chronology of how the existing hedgerow landscape was formed. Doncaster Archives has a rich source of historic maps that made this research possible.
In addition the ongoing surveying and recording of hedgerows in the various geographically distinct regions of the Borough help us to better understand the nature and history of our living landscape and, importantly, how these features can be protected and enhanced. Ancient and species rich hedgerows are listed as a priority habitat in the Doncaster Biodiversity Action Plan (DBAP).
In the recent past, many farmers saw hedges only in economic terms. From this viewpoint they were seen as expensive to maintain, wasting valuable land, preventing efficient use of large machines, and harbouring pests. Possibly this view is now changing, and well-maintained hedgerows are coming to be seen as an asset for the farm business and this has seen a resurgence of traditional crafts such as hedge laying. Well-maintained hedgerows also provide an essential refuge for many species of woodland and farmland plants and animals and act as wildlife corridors, allowing movement and dispersal of species between habitats. Sadly, hedgerows within the Borough are still at threat due to the economies of modern farming and the need for land for employment and housing to meet the continued growth of the Borough.
Rural hedgerows are protected by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997, which were made under section 97 of the Environment Act 1995. In addition, many hedgerows are still protected by statute law under the Enclosure Acts. Based within the Local Planning Authority, Built and Natural Environment (Trees) are responsible for the statutory protection of hedgerows. The removal of any hedgerow to which the Hedgerow Regulations apply is prohibited unless the owner of the hedgerow has first given notice of the proposal to remove the hedgerow ('hedgerow removal notice') together with a plan and evidence required by the form set. Notification to remove a hedgerow MUST be made on the standard national hedgerow removal notice form or on-line via the Planning Portal.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 confer protection of habitats commonly found in hedgerows and used by nesting birds, bats and other protected species such as owls. It is a firmly established principle that works to hedgerows should avoid the bird nesting season. Enforcement of this legislation is by South Yorkshire Police.
High Hedges: complaining to the Council (Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003) - please see the section Problem with High Hedges.
A Hedgerow Map has been produced which aims to show the network of hedgerows across the borough. Where possible this shows the known age of each hedgerow by demonstrating whether it existed pre or post 1845.
The rationale for the pre- and post-1845 designation of hedgerows is that following a Judicial Review and a consequent amendment to the Hedgerow Regulations 1997: A guide to the Law and Good Practice (p.27) the phrase 'pre-dating the Inclosure Acts' at section 5(a) of Schedule 1 Part II 'Criteria' of the Hedgerow Regulations (1997) ("the Regulations") should be taken to mean before 1845 whether or not Inclosure Acts exist for the area in question.
Hence, subject to the hedgerow being within the scope of the Regulations a pre-1845 provenance confers the hedgerow as 'Important' under the archaeology and history criteria of the Regulations. Post-1845 hedgerows that have existed for 30 years still fall within the scope of the Regulations and cannot be removed without the submission of a Hedgerow Removal Notice in accordance with the Regulations (as these hedgerows may be 'Important' under the wildlife and landscape criteria of the Regulations).
Note: The information shown was mapped on previous versions of the base map, due to the potential accuracy issues this causes the data will only be viewable until you zoom in to a scale of 1:5000.
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