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Country News - 2004

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Vanishing walls worry Yorkshire folk

Wednesday 09 June 2004

THE biggest countryside worry for Yorkshire folk is the disappearance of drystone walls and hedgerows, according the results of a survey published today by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

The CPRE has been campaigning for decades to stop the widespread grubbing out of hedges and the loss of thousands of miles of drystone wall to neglect - many farmers no longer have the time, the manpower or the cash to repair them.

But now that the notorious Common Agricultural Policy is being reformed to steer subsidy payments away from production towards environmental work, the CPRE has started a new campaign to ensure that when the new rules are formalised, they will include cash for repairing walls and replanting hedgerows.

To back their case, a nationwide survey was organised and some 7,000 people were canvassed, 400 of them in Yorkshire and the Humber. Of those, 38% said the most worrying feature of recent years in the countryside was the loss of walls and hedges.

Says CPRE rural affairs campaigner Ian Woodhurst: "It is essential, now that agricultural payments are no longer tied to food production, that a substantial proportion of the money paid to farmers towards restoring the character of our landscapes and the biodiversity that they sustain."


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