York Green Party

Council's 'Scorched Earth' policy on hedges

13 March 2013

In recent weeks, residents around York have witnessed hedges and bushes being bulldozed into oblivion before they can be occupied by nesting birds. Hull Rd Park, Millennium Bridge, Blue Bridge, Bootham, Grantham Drive, Boroughbridge Road and countless other places have seen hedges unceremoniously ripped up.

Green Councillor Andy D'Agorne describes the policy as 'bio-warfare'. He says, "It is clearly a strategy not only to 'open up' visibility into parks (so that they can be left unlocked at night in future) but also to remove the cost of cutting greenery back once or twice a year."

Cllr D'Agorne has so far been stonewalled in his attempts to find out how extensive the programme is, how much will be saved and what - if any - replacement planting is planned to maintain biodiversity within this 'sustainable city'. Council officers initially claimed this was 'routine maintenance'.

Cllr D'Agorne said, "It is patently obvious to me that planting which has been in place for decades has been summarily dispatched to green waste; hardly routine maintenance."

Council officers have admitted to other groups that planting is being reviewed to prepare for cuts in the maintenance budget, and indeed a measure in the 2011 budget called for this. Yet Cllr D'Agorne has been told that no programme for hedge and bush removal removal has been undertaken.

"The need to save money on maintenance is understood, but does not justify the destruction of already declining habitats. Were any alternatives looked at? Could residents' groups not be entrusted to maintain planting? Why are our green spaces under threat from the very people who are supposed to be preserving them? I will keep trying to find answers."







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