Calls for 'hedge fund' to stop snowdrifts and flooding
- Credit: Bob Kett-Brodie
A fund should be set up to restore hedges to Norfolk's rural roadsides, two county councillors have said.
Ed Maxfield, who represents Mundesley division, said more hedges would help reduce flooding and stop snow drifts, which have made many country roads impassable over the past week.
But a council leader said work to restore hedges was already well under way as part of a 'One Million Trees for Norfolk' project.
Mr Maxfield said: “Villages like Northrepps, Antingham and Paston in my division have seen roads blocked by drifting snow well after it stopped snowing.
"The loss of hedgerows has contributed to that and the county council should step up and help to tackle the problem.
“The Conservatives want to give each county councillor £10,000 to spend on roads in their area. If they took just £2,000 of that they could create a £150,000 ‘hedge fund’ to spend on returning hedges to the county’s fields."
Sandra Squire, the council's Independent group leader, said she supported the idea.
She said: “Hedges are so important for wildlife, including hedgehogs, mice and birds, they help prevent soil erosion and water run off from fields and help to combat climate change by storing carbon."
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Andy Grant, cabinet member for environment and waste, responded by pointing out that more than 6,300 tree and hedge plants had been planted at Bacton, Thorpe Market, and Rollesby as part of the One Million Trees for Norfolk project.
Mr Grant said: "We’re working with partners including the Tree Council, The Woodland Trust and Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group on the Norfolk-wide five-year scheme that will expand, improve and connect our existing tree and hedge cover, including on farms.
"I’m sure that any extra funding that members would like to contribute locally, to establish and maintain trees and hedges in the right place, would be a welcome addition."
The council is planning to release more details of how the community can get involved in the One Million Trees project in spring.