CLA urges farmers and landowners to follow hedge cutting and trimming rules

Date published: 22 July 2019

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is reminding farmers to ensure that they follow the rules with their hedge cutting and trimming at this time of year.

Not following the rules would be in breach of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), and for those farmers claiming BPS (Basic Payment Scheme), they might not be complying with the rules that have to be followed.

Between 1 March and 31 August, hedge cutting and trimming is not permissible, especially since this is the main bird breeding season. However, there are exceptions, such as when:

  • The hedge overhangs a highway, road or footpath over which there is a public or private right of way and the overhanging hedge obstructs the passage of, or is a danger to, vehicles, pedestrians or horse riders.
  • Obstructs the view of drivers or the light from a public lamp

CLA North Adviser Jane Harrison said: “It is on the odd occasion visually evident that some farmers and land owners flout the general rules around cutting their hedges. The only exception to the rule is when it is justifiable necessary to undertake hedge-cutting for practical reasons around safety and public amenity.”

“The CLA encourages farmers and country land managers to manage their hedges in accordance with the rules, and it is also advisable to kindly remind neighbours on the other side of their boundary to be compliant on maintaining their hedges.”

Derogations on hedge trimming or cutting during August can be obtained from the Rural Payment’s Agency. This is usually granted to allow for the sowing of oil seed rape or temporary grassland during the same month.

In any circumstance, under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) all wild birds are protected and extra care should be taken to avoid the disturbance of nests in hedges, eggs and young chicks.

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