With Branchage season upon us, local conservation group Action for Wildlife Jersey, are reminding land owners to “Branchage responsibly” in order to lessen their environmental impact.
Under Jersey’s Branchage law, owners of land bordering public roads and footpaths are required to ensure that overhanging vegetation is cut back. Each of the parishes organises twice-yearly Visites du Branchage, to ensure that the law is being adhered to. This year’s first Visites du Branchage will take place from Thursday, 24th June .
In 2018, Jersey’s environmental organisations formed the ‘Branchage Group’, aimed at encouraging the cutting of vegetation in a way that protects and enhances the local environment.
Chris Perkins, Chairman of Action for Wildlife Jersey, said: “We want to ensure that landowners understand how important it is to balance the requirements of the Branchage law with protecting the environment and promoting biodiversity. There are leaflets and videos available which demonstrate best practice techniques for minimising the impact on wildlife, including nests, fledglings and hedgehogs, as well as reducing the impact on flowering plants so as to increase biodiversity and attract pollinators.”
The Branchage guidelines were updated in 2019 and, since then, with the enthusiastic support of our farmers in particular, Action for Wildlife Jersey say they have seen noticeable improvements to roadside banques and hedges, but stress that there is still more to be done, particularly by the non-farming community; sadly, the Jersey Hedgehog Preservation Group continue to receive many hedgehogs seriously injured by strimmers.
“We hope that the campaign will help to reduce the harm caused to hedgehogs and other animals. Research being done in the UK by Plantlife tells us that the management of roadside verges for nature would create 6,300 plants per person, in Jersey that would be another 680 million plants! By following the Branchage Guidelines, landowners will be helping to substantially enhance biodiversity in the vital wildlife corridors which are our banques and hedges”
Guidelines and more information on the next inspections, which will take place for three weeks beginning on 24 June, is available on gov.je/branchage. Video guidelines are also available on the Facebook pages of Action for Wildlife Jersey; The Jersey Hedgehog Preservation Group; and Branchage and Beyond Nurturing Nature’s Pathways.