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Rules on trimming hedges and trees

All wild birds are protected. This includes their nests (whilst in use or being built) as well as
any eggs the nest may contain. Under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), it
is an offence to:

  1. intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird;
  2. intentionally damage, destroy or take the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built (nests of golden eagle, white tailed eagle and osprey are protected all year round);
  3. intentionally destroy an egg of any wild bird;
  4. intentionally or recklessly disturb certain wild birds or their dependent young while they are nesting (including disturbance of nesting young);

Although within the WCA no dates are legally stated between which hedges cannot be trimmed, cut, laid or coppiced, the main bird breeding season is recognised as being between 1 March and 31 July. Therefore the risk of committing any of the above offences is increased between these dates.

See more on rules on hedges, the law rules and regulations or  download a pdf copy Hedges and the law

If your work crossed into rural areas or farm contracting then you may want to get up to speed on new rules for trimming hedges and trees.

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  • Interesting that you've just posted this.

    As I was dropping off the kids to school this morning some gardeners were cutting back a length of mixed hedging that was growing over the footpath. Not too sensible using hedge cutters so close to small kids or the resulting cuttings left all over the path.

    What does this bit mean in the real world...."intentionally or recklessly disturb certain wild birds or their dependent young while they are nesting (including disturbance of nesting young)"....How much of a disturbance constitutes a problem?

    • PRO

      I think the word knowingly would work better than intentionally.

  • PRO

    Noticed a story go through on my news feed (Mail Online) this morning.

    Clipped hedge? It's a wildlife crime, say angry villagers: Residents call in police after mile of hedgerow was hacked back during bird nesting season

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3110197/Clipped-hedge-s-wil... 

    From the Horsington blog.

    Who chopped the hedgerow down?

    The drastic cutting back of  a mile or so of hedgerow around Horsington at the height of the nesting season is an outrage. Isn’t it illegal to cut hedges after March?

    Who is responsible? The Parish Council? The SSDC? The County Council?  Horsington Manor? And what about the so-called County Wildlife Site?

    Perhaps someone will come forward and tell us why. But we doubt it.

    See https://www.gov.uk/countryside-hedgerows-regulation-and-management

    Full photographic record

    Police to investigate

  • I was asked to quote cutting a 100m long 3m high, thick Leylandii hedge. I explained that it would have to be left until August because of nesting birds (I hadn't checked but was sure to be some nesting activity) I was surprised to discover that another firm had gone in and cut the said hedge 2 weeks later (mid May) !

This reply was deleted.

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