I've just learned that a housing association in Stoke-on-Trent are beginning a programme of ripping out the hedges and lawns of 3 houses a week, every week, for the next 5 years. The residents say they want low maintenance gardens and so privet hedges over 50 years old are going to be destroyed at the start of the breeding season.
Why is this legal? A team of youth on work experience are ready to start the destruction, being seen as "training", why can't they be trained to trim hedges and do basic gardens if that is what people are afraid of doing themselves?
We seem to have learned nothing from the destruction of hedgerows across farmland. As urban sites expand we have to fold the needs of wildlife into our own needs, even if that means the inconvenience of pruning and mowing just occasionally.
Birds use them to nest in, insects to shelter and breed in, hedgehogs can go through them (they find it hard to scale fences) and all kinds of small mammals can use them as shelter and for corridors.
Hedges are great for all kinds of wildlife. Come on Housing Association - do your bit and help make Stoke a better place, not more concrete wasteland.
Privet Hawk Moth: