Hedge cutting can be criminal offence

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PEOPLE should take care when cutting their hedges from April onwards because they could be breaking the law.

Rosemary Vaughan, from Storrington, contacted the County Times and said she wanted to raise awareness of the issue as many birds enter their breeding season this month - some have already started building nests.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) recommends that ‘cutting hedges and trees is avoided between March and August as this is the main breeding season for nesting birds’ and adds that it can be a criminal offence to do so if people know there are birds nesting there.

Mrs Vaughan said: “We need to take care of what’s left. It upsets me and once one person starts, it has a knock-on effect and more people think ‘I must cut the hedge at the weekend’. People don’t know about the law.

“We had a warm spell recently, so birds could be building their nests now.

“People don’t think about the birds and what time they start building their nests.”

The RSPB website advises: “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.

“It will be 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 in the process.”

For more information go to www.rspb.org.uk/advice