Has a farmer breached EIA rules by removing dry stone walls?

Perhaps unlikely reservoirs of wildlife diversity, dry stone walls – known as drystane dykes in Scotland – are especially prominent landscape features in the uplands of England, Wales and Scotland, as well as some lowland areas such as the Cotswolds. There are an estimated 80,000-112,500km of these walls in England alone, equivalent to 10% of all field boundaries.

In a similar way to hedges, they provide shelter for plants and wildlife. They act as a substrate for lichens, liverworts and mosses to grow on, and – where soil accumulates in nooks and crannies – a place where soil can become established and wildflowers grow. They are a refuge for small mammals, nesting sites for little owls and basking areas for reptiles, and they help to protect the strips of land on either side. They also reduce soil run-off and snow from drifting.  

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