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.
Protecting wildlife and plants
Hedgerows can provide important habitats for birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. Bird nesting season in Cornwall can range from February to mid August. 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.
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.
For information about roadside hedges, please see our highway hedge advice leaflet.