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Urgent warning to gardeners over jail time and ‘unlimited fine’

Gardeners are being warned that trimming their hedges may result in an “unlimited fine” and even jail time.

As the warmer months creep in, it’s the perfect time to go out and get gardens in presentable condition. However, regardless of your intent, you could be slapped with a hefty fine or worse thanks to a lesser-known law.

If you’re thinking about cutting hedges, directly impacting a hedge’s growth while flowering, you may fall foul of an environmental law – reports the Express

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Farm hedgerows cannot legally be cut between April 1 and August 31 at all, apart from in extreme circumstances, which would require a license.

While it’s technically legal to trim some types of domestic garden hedges at this time of year, if it causes a bird’s nest to be damaged or destroyed – intentionally or otherwise – then you’re still breaking the law.

Wood Street Care Leicester said: “You must avoid the bird nesting season, which runs from March to August. However, you can cut your hedges after new years day until the end of February.

“It’s illegal to cut your hedges during bird nesting season, which runs from March to August. Cutting your hedge during bird nesting season can damage or destroy nests, which is harmful to the birds. It’s also illegal to trim hedges on your property if they’re taller than 20 meters without permission from the local council.”

This is backed by Husqvarna which said: “Under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it’s an offense to intentionally damage or destroy a wild bird’s nest while it is being built or in use. That includes consciously using a hedge trimmer when there is a bird’s nest in your hedge, and in the process of doing so, causing the nest to be damaged or destroyed.”

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds backs this up. It says that a person is breaking that law if they intentionally damage a bird’s nest while it’s being used or built, and this applies to trimming hedges, saying: “The moment it becomes active, it is illegal to destroy it.”

Breaking this law could land you an unlimited fine and six months in prison. The RSPB adds: “The consequences for the above, even in the event of harm to a single bird, nest or egg, is an unlimited fine, up to six months in jail or both. Suffice to say, it is certainly not a risk worth taking.”

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