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Talk to the Hedge: campaign calls on gardeners to help combat climate change

A charity is calling on the public and the nation’s gardeners to help save hedgerows in the fight against climate change, as the first ever National Hedgerow Week launches.

The Tree Council is encouraging members of the public to get up close and personal with their local hedgerows and sharing on social media using the hashtag #TalkToTheHedge. The charity is also offering gardeners a free guide on the ways to nurture their hedge, available to download from the campaign website.

The hedgerow has been hailed by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) as crucial in helping the UK meet its target of reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. Hedges capture more carbon than trees and in a 2019 report by the CCC it advised that we need to plant 200,000km of new hedgerows, making up for the 50% of hedges that have been lost since World War II.

Commenting on #TalkToTheHedge, Tree Council CEO Sara Lom said:

Words have the power to tell stunning stories and bring characters to life. That’s why language really matters when it comes to connecting with the environment and the natural world. Talk To The Hedge is a playful way to start an important conversation about these beautiful, bountiful, bustling habitats and their essential role in saving the planet.

To mark National Hedgerow Week, a Community Hedgefund has been launched, enabling local groups to apply to plant hedges in their community. A new Farming Hedgefund will also grant £500,000 to landowners in England to help them fill hedgerow gaps, as the Tree Council aims to help plant 30 miles of new hedges by this winter.

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Dr Michael Garratt at the University of Reading’s School of Agriculture said that hedges are an essential habitat for wildlife too. Healthy hedgerows protect more than 2,000 species including the hedgehog and several European Protected Species, notably the dormouse and most species of bat.

Dr Garratt said:

Urban hedges provide shelter, nest sites, food and movement corridors for wildlife and in the countryside, they are a key habitat for important species like bumblebees and beetles. Protecting and growing these fantastic little nature reserves is essential if we are to stop biodiversity loss and fight climate change.

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Photo by Mikael Buck / The Tree Council