Today (Thursday, September 1st, 2022) marks the start of the annual hedge-cutting season until February 28th, 2023.
Landowners, farmers, and householders are reminded to ensure that they cut and maintain roadside hedges and overhanging trees so road users – motorists, pedestrians and cyclists – can travel safely.
Section 70 of the Roads Act 1993 places responsibility for the maintenance of roadside hedges on the owners/occupiers of the adjoining lands.
It states that “the owner or occupier of land shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation on the land is not a hazard or potential hazard to persons using a public road and that it does not obstruct or interfere with the safe use of a public road or the maintenance of a public road”.
The season when hedge cutting is permitted under the Wildlife Act is between the start of September and the end of February the following year.
Hedge cutting and vegetation clearance are restricted to the 6-month period, from September to February, but there are exceptions.
For businesses, landowners and the general public, the most notable of these exemptions are:
- The destruction, in the ordinary course of agriculture or forestry, of any vegetation growing on or in any hedge or ditch. In the act, “agriculture” is defined as including horticulture. Since horticulture includes gardening, the summertime trimming of hedges in the ordinary course of gardening falls under this exemption;
- The clearance of vegetation in the course of a road or other construction works or in the development or preparation of sites on which any building or other structure is intended to be provided;
- The felling, cutting, lopping, trimming, or removal of a tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation pursuant to section 70 of the Roads Act 1993.
Japanese Knotweed and ground disturbance
Landowners are reminded that they should not cut Japanese Knotweed. No ground disturbance should take place at these sites at any time of year.
The public is asked to report any instances of Japanese Knotweed to your local county council.
You should note that it is an offence, under Section 22 of the Wildlife Act 1976, to wilfully destroy, injure, or mutilate the eggs or nest of a wild bird or to wilfully disturb a wild bird on or near a nest containing eggs or un-flown young birds at any time of the year.
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