CPRE report shows hedgerows are fantastic for local economies

Avatar for Dilys Merry
By Dilys Merry
6th September 2021

Our new report published today calls on the government to set a target of increasing hedgerows by 40%. Because as well as being good for wildlife and the environment, boosting their length would create 25,000 jobs over the next 30 years. And this would yield a whopping £4 return on every £1 invested!

This new independent research by the Organic Research Centre is laid out in ‘Hedge fund: investing in hedgerows for climate, nature and the economy’ which we launched in parliament today.

We join the Climate Change Committee (CCC) in calling for a 40% increase by 2050.  Lord Deben, head of the CCC, said ‘Reintroduction and proper maintenance of hedgerows transform all-too sterile prairie land into the countryside, which we have long loved. But, as this report shows, this is not about romance – the hard facts are that hedges contribute to profit as well as to wellbeing.’

A win-win for climate, nature and the economy

Many of us appreciate the beauty of the patchwork of fields that hedgerows create.  But we now realise that hedgerows are vital in the fight against climate change, capturing masses of carbon in their stems and foliage and slowing down flooding. They’re also England’s largest and most connected nature reserve, providing habitats, food and wildlife corridors for a huge number of species. One in nine of the UK’s most vulnerable species is significantly associated with hedgerows.

Male yellowhammer on top of a hedge
Male yellowhammer atop a hedge

That’s why it’s such good news that investing in hedgerow planting could bring up to £3.92 in returns for every £1 spent, regenerating local livelihoods in the process. Hedges also help keep us healthy by capturing the tiny particles that create air pollution. In fact, increasing urban hedgerows by 40% could see reductions in air pollution and associated health costs of £5 million a year – another economic boost.

Support hedgerows with us

Would you like to add your voice to ours as we call for more 40% more hedgerow cover by 2050? Support our #40by50 campaign, calling on the government to commit to extending our beautiful, life-giving hedgerow network by 40% by 2050, by signing our petition now.

Have you considered planting or extending your own hedge? Read our new guide ‘Hedgerows and Verges in Herefordshire’ for all you need to know.

Hedgelaying group
A group hedgelaying