After many years of pressing the highway authorities to use a little more common sense and vision about the unnecessary and inappropriate cutting of roadside verges, it is gratifying to see that this year, touch wood, a little more thought has been applied.

This presumably includes the realisation that it also saves much-needed money – if they could simply ensure that the litter exposed was removed at the same time, I would be really happy!

Unfortunately, the seasonal vandalism of clumsy hedge-flailing continues.

I appreciate there is a practical problem, in as much as at this time of year, farmers have more time on their hands and immediately reach for the flail-cutters, but that in turn means food and cover for wildlife over the winter is significantly reduced, as well as making the hedgerows less visually attractive much earlier than otherwise might be necessary.

However, the real crime in my view is when the flail is driven so hard into the hedge that large branches and shoots are totally smashed and disfigured. Often there is absolutely no need for this, as the hedge itself may be set back some way from the edge of the road and is not affecting visibility in any way. Some hedge-cutters are very good and manage to avoid this despoliation.

Is it not about time some understanding and sensitivity is applied for the benefit of the community as a whole?

Chris Lousley