Cross Compliance Regulation GAEC 7 : Maintenance of Landscape Features states that no trees can be cut or trimmed during the bird rearing and nesting season; 1 March to 31 August, unless:
- The hedgerow or tree overhangs a highway, road, track or footpath to which the public have access, and the work is necessary because the overhanging vegetation:
o obstructs the passage of vehicles or pedestrians;
o obstructs the view of drivers, or the light from a public lamp; or
o is a danger to horse-riders.
- The hedgerow or tree needs to be cut or trimmed because it is dead, diseased or damaged or insecurely rooted, and is therefore likely to cause danger by falling onto a highway, road or footpath.
- The company responsible for the maintenance of any overhanging electricity or telephone lines, needs to cut back trees and/or hedges for safety reasons.
- On arable land, where the normal agricultural practice requires that a winter arable crop is planted before 31 August, you will be able to cut back the relevant hedges or trees from 1 August as long as nesting birds are not disturbed. Before cutting the hedge you must check the hedge thoroughly to ensure that you will not disturb any breeding or rearing bird.
- There is an enforcement notice issued by the Local Authority under the Highways Act 1980 Section 154 in order that the passage of vehicles or pedestrians is not obstructed or endangered, it is considered that the hedge and/or branches of trees at the locations described require trimming/lopping or pleaching.
If you cut any earlier then you risk a cross compliance penalty on your BPS payment.