People are reminded to trim hedges before the start of the bird nesting season.
Hedgerows are an important part of the countryside and provide wildlife with food, shelter and important breeding sites.
To protect flowers, birds and other creatures that use them, people are asked to avoid trimming their hedges between 1 March and 31 August, unless it is a safety risk.
Although roadside hedges are the landowner’s responsibility, the go manages the cutting of certain areas in the interest of public safety, for example keeping footpaths clear and maintaining good visibility for road users.
Infrastructure Minister Tim Baker said: ‘It is important to balance the work required to maintain access and visibility with other considerations and every effort is made to avoid sensitive times of year for plants and wildlife.’
Hedgerows also provide homes for lizards, butterflies and small mammals such as wood mice, shrews and hedgehogs, and people should always check for bird nests prior to any maintenance work.
Nesting birds are legally protected and intentionally or recklessly destroying a nest, eggs or chicks could lead to a £10,000 fine.
Environment Minister Geoffrey Boot added: ‘Hedgerows play an integral role in the health of our countryside and provide multiple benefits for our Biosphere. With spring just around the corner it is important to do any cutting back this month to protect nesting birds and the other species that depend on them for food and shelter.’
Farmers are advised to cut their hedges every two to three years to make sure there is always suitable habitat and berries available for birds.