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 March 1 and August 31, 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, or obstructs the view of drivers or the light from a public lamp. Derogations on hedge trimming or cutting during August can be obtained from the Rural Payment’s Agency

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