Hedge Law

Published: 07 August 2019


Hedge cutting and the law from the RSPB Website:

Some mature hedgerows are protected by law but this wouldn’t normally apply to garden hedges. 

We recommend not cutting hedges and trees between March and August as this is the main breeding season for nesting birds, although some birds may nest outside this period.

It is an offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built, or to intentionally kill, injure or take chicks or adults, or intentionally take or destroy any eggs.

It is an intentional act, for example, if you or your neighbour know there is an active nest in the hedge and still cut the hedge, damaging or destroying the nest or contents in the process.

If they proceed, and you know there is an active nest at risk, contact the police on 101, and ask for a reference number.

If you are unsure what to do, contact RSPB Wildlife Enquiries on: 01767 693690.

Note: The Police have the responsibility for enforcing this legislation and the RSPB do not enforce the law on these cases. We can provide advice to the Police where appropriate.