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Hedges and the law

There are a number of legal issues that affect Cornish Hedges and hedgerows including:

Hedgerow Regulations 1997

The Hedgerows Regulations (1997) were introduced to allow local planning authorities to offer protection to important hedgerows in England and Wales. These hedgerows are valuable because of their historical, cultural, ecological and landscape characteristics.

It is against the law to remove most countryside hedgerows without permission from the council and if you do so you could be fined up to £5,000.

Find out more on the permission to remove hedgerows page or the Cornish hedges and Hedgerows Regulations document.

Protecting wildlife and plants

Hedgerows can provide important habitats for birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. Bird nesting season in Cornwall is from the 1st March to the end of September. However, many species produce additional broods depending upon climate and habitat. Checks should be made for nesting birds before hedge cutting outside the nesting season.. 

Management operations need to ensure that they are protecting plants, animals and habitats. These need to follow the regulations set out in the Countryside and Wildlife Act 1981, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.

Further information and advice can be sought from Natural England and the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

Advice to tenants

Tenants should obtain their landlord's prior written consent for hedge management. This is in case any works may contravene their tenancy agreement.

Trees in hedges

Before felling or pruning trees on hedges check whether they are protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or are in a Conservation Area. Also it is important to check whether a Felling Licence is required. For more information please see our planning advice on trees.

Roadside hedges

For information about roadside hedges, please see our highway hedge advice leaflet.

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