Despite a decline in the UK hedgehog population, it’s all too easy to blame modern farming methods (How you can help to save our endangered hedgehog, I, January 28).
Pesticide usage has been declining since 1990, despite a larger area of farmland being treated each year. Meanwhile, in the past two decades there has been a revival of hedge planting on farms. Buffer margins where no cultivation, fertilizers, manures or pesticides are used have been introduced to help protect the hedge and its bio-diversity. Figures show that 90 per cent of holdings have hedges and on 23 per cent of these holdings farmers planted new hedges between 2009 and 2010. And more than 170,000km of hedgerows are now under specific environmental management.
Farmers are committed to wildlife habitats on their land and many sign up for schemes where they receive payments for managing wildlife on their farms. 70 per cent of agricultural land is in such agreements.
NFU countryside adviser Claire Robinson Agriculture House Stoneleigh Park CV8 2TZ