Council and my hedge

I have a hedge that bourders the road with a willow tree growing in it. Every year the will and the hedge gets bird nests. Sadly this year we have had issues with a neighbour as I refused to cut another tree due to a birds nest which ended up with criminal damage and police coming round due to abuse on there part. Now they have got the council involved with my front hedge saying as its near a path it needs to be cut back or I will be fined. I have told there there are birds nests and the council shouted down the phone at us. Too me this is breaking the animal act from 1981 (i think i got that right) but they dont seem to get this. You can still physically walk past the hedge and there are 2 paths one either side of this slow road. Any help is appreciated. 

  • The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 is the key piece of legislation and, as you say, makes it illegal to disturb nesting birds. The best thing you can do is write to the council referencing their communication (I assume they wrote) and quote the act. You could commit to trimming back the hedge after nesting is complete


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  • I agree with WJ. However, having avoided the thread yesterday, I've been drawn into feeling the need to respond to it today.....

    The Act was rightly passed to reduce (attempt to stop) deliberate human interference. Unfortunately, it is widely ignored by the 'Landscape Gardeners'. I personally don't see any landscape type involvement or gardening in what they do in this area. I also don't see any gardening tools, just high powered machinery. The other issue is people use the Act to avoid doing what they should do. i.e. stop their gardens from sprawling into roads, pavements, neighbours' etc.

    Willows and hedges don't suddenly cause councils to spend time and money getting involved. They need maintaining in urban areas, especially where roads and pavements are involved. It isn't possible to legitimately claim there are birds nesting year after year.

    Did you clear the road/pavement during the Winter or has it been overgrown for a while?

    It is no defence to say people can walk around gardens that spill into public areas like roads and pavements. Assuming there are any active nests (which now it's mid July is starting to get less likely), it is almost certainly only a week or two away from there being no nests and your work to maintain your garden can commence.