Environmentalists are warning that a network of hedges must be built right across Scotland in order to reach climate change targets and to protect biodiversity in the country. The Scottish Wildlife Trust is asking the Scottish Government to actually start a ‘hedge fund’ where the money and investments will be use to create new ‘green’ infrastructure for the country.
The plan is to build hedgerows and other similar items to reconnect key habitats across the country. It says that with the amount the government spends on ‘grey’ links that help people get across the country via roads, railways, etc spending a bit on ‘green’ links for wildlife is not out of the question.
During the forties up until the eighties it is estimated that about 14,000 miles of hedgerows disappeared across Scotland mainly due to farming practices and a change in government policy. Even though incentives like grants have been proposed in order to help reverse the declining numbers of hedgerows, another thousand miles of hedgerow has disappeared just in the last nine years in the Lowlands. This adds up to be a 7% loss up to 2007.
At the same time that the hedgerows disappeared, so did the biodiversity of the hedgerows by almost 22% In particular the song thrush and other similar birds that depend on hedges to find food are in decline and are even considered an endangered species in Scotland. The continual loss of habitat continues to threaten may different species of wildlife.
The proposal will be put forth and debated at the SNP backed conference that will take place in Edinburgh next week. Experts will be asking that habitat restoration be treated just as importantly as any major transport project would be in Scotland like the Fourth Replacement Crossing.