‘Balance branchage with protecting the environment,’ say campaigners

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A CAMPAIGN group is encouraging Islanders to minimise their impact on plants and wildlife during branchage season.

The Branchage Group, which comprises several conservation organisations, including Action for Wildlife Jersey, wants to ensure those undertaking the twice-yearly Jersey tradition – under which landowners or occupiers are legally required to cut back any vegetation overhanging roads and footpaths – do so in a way that protects and enhances the environment.

As part of the campaign, leaflets are available from parish halls demonstrating methods of ‘best practice’ that aim to reduce the number of animal casualties, promote stable roadside banks and increase pollinating plants. Video guides are also available on the Facebook pages of Action for Wildlife Jersey, The Jersey Hedgehog Preservation Group and Branchage and Beyond Nurturing Nature’s Pathways.

Action for Wildlife Jersey chair Chris Perkins said: ‘We want to ensure that landowners understand how important it is to balance the requirements of the branchage law with protecting the environment and enhancing biodiversity.’

He added: ‘The charity Plantlife estimates that if all of the road verges in the United Kingdom were managed for nature, there would be a spectacular 418,88 billion more flowers. In Jersey that would equate to nearly 650 million more flowers.

‘Careful management of our banques and hedges could potentially provide us with a “Battle of Flowers” that would last for months every year.’

The Branchage Group was formed in 2018 to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries to hedgehogs and other wild animals.

This year’s first Visites du Branchage are due to take place during the three weeks from 24 June. The second assessments are scheduled for the first three weeks of September.

Branchage dates

– St Brelade: 8 July and 7 September

– St Clement: 1 July and 9 September

– Grouville: 1 July and 2 September

– St Helier: 8 July and 9 September

– St John: 7 July and 1 September

– St Lawrence: 29 June and 7 September

– St Martin: 8 July and 6 September

– St Mary: 14 July and 8 September

– St Ouen: 7 July and 1 September

– St Peter: 7 July and 15 September

– St Saviour: 7 July and 12 September

– Trinity: 8 July and 9 September

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