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Fewer hurt hedgehogs and more butterflies after branchage rule refresh

Fewer hurt hedgehogs and more butterflies after branchage rule refresh

Sunday 01 September 2019

Fewer hurt hedgehogs and more butterflies after branchage rule refresh

Fewer hedgehogs are getting hurt, flora and fauna are thriving, and key pollinators like bees and butterflies are on the rise thanks to new branchage guidelines, a nature campaign group has said.

Last year, the Jersey Hedgehog Group reported a large number of injured animals being brought in for care, prompting calls to review Jersey’s 1914 Branchage Law.

A working group was subsequently formed and, earlier this year, published a fresh set of guidelines to try to minimise damage to wildlife and to the island's environment resulting from indiscriminate strimming of roadside banques and hedgerows.

And this year’s figures from the Jersey Hedgehog Group suggest that the new guidance is already having a positive effect.


Pictured: Flora and fauna is thriving following the introduction of new branchage guidelines, Action for Wildlife say. (AfW/Branchage and Beyond/Facebook)

One of the working group's members, Action for Wildlife Jersey, has welcomed progress made in the run up to the Spring Visites du Branchage – parish inspections which take place throughout the island in June to ensure that foliage is cut back to avoid obstructing highways.

They say that the guidance published ahead of the inspections has contributed to an improved roadside environment recorded in photographs and postings by many members of the Facebook Group 'Branchage and Beyond – Nurturing Nature's Highways'.

Now the group is asking landowners to continue to apply the guidance to roadside maintenance ahead of the late summer inspections which take place in the first three weeks of September.

They are particularly keen to reinforce some key messages as those with property adjoining roads take action to ensure that they comply with the law which requires clearance of at least 12 feet (3.7 metres) above all public roads and 8 feet (2.4 metres) above footpaths.


Pictured: An example of branchage done well, according to Action for Wildlife. (AfW/Branchage and Beyond/Facebook)

"We urge landowners and contractors to continue to follow the new Branchage Guidelines. In particular, not to trim banques severely - leaving a minimum of 10cm of vegetation height - to check for the presence of wildlife before beginning work and to clear away all cuttings," the group says.

Action for Wildlife Jersey attribute the swift progress made this year to the support of key bodies – the Comité des Connétables, the Jersey Farmers' Union and the Jersey Royal Potato Company.

Further information about Branchage, including the guidelines, can be obtained from the Facebook group 'Branchage and Beyond – Nurturing Nature's Highways', which you can visit by clicking here.

Pictured top: Hedgehogs have benefited from the new guidelines on branchage. (Action for Wildlife/Branchage and Beyond/Facebook)

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