An important message – Brown Hairstreaks

Those of you on Facebook – and/or otherwise interested in the wellbeing of butterflies may already have seen the important request by Richard Smith (Butterfly Conservation) for a change in hedge flailing practices. We are reposting it here:

“Dear all,
In parallel with COP26 events in Glasgow, Welsh government is running a few regional events in Wales. Many of you will be aware of the frustrations of unneccessary and increasingly ANNUAL mechanical flailing of working farm hedges (and removal of scrub). Although it is understandable for roadside hedges, there is no obvious justification for annual trimming of hedges between fields. We warned Welsh government in 2008 that a likely consequence would be decline of Brown Hairstreak butterflies (a Priority Biodiversity species in Wales) across their range in South-west Wales. Now in the decade since 2009 that massive decline has occurred and continues, when hedge experts say that trimming of most thorn-rich hedges is only necessary every 3 to 4 years. Each flailling removes 80% to 90% of over-wintering Brown Hairstreak eggs, so annual trimming will extinguish them very quickly indeed. Although farming is undoubtedly still struggling in many ways, this is one activity which is quite unnecessary, wastes fossil fuel and damages wildlife including also removing berries and fruit from birds and mammals. Given that 5 metre field margins are generally not employed in mainly pastoral Wales, the leaving of hedges to flourish between fields most years should surely be encouraged by Welsh Government and would significantly contribute positively to climate change reduction.The Regional Cop26 Cymru for South-West Wales is taking place on Wednesday 10th November. You should as a member of the public be able to join and comment. The link is <https://freshwater.eventscase.com/…/South_West_Wales

Do please try to flag up this issue. We have the scientific evidence to support it.
Many thanks,
Richard

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