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:
- intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird;
- 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);
- intentionally destroy an egg of any wild bird;
- 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.