During the main nesting bird season (March – August), people are asked to avoid cutting hedges, sod banks or verges wherever possible as DEFA warn it could be reckless to do so.
It is not illegal to cut during this season; but it is an offence to recklessly or intentionally damage or destroy wild bird, their nests, eggs or chicks.
A DEFA statement said: ‘As well as the potential damage or destruction from cutting, removing the vegetation from around nests can expose eggs or chicks to predators and make it more likely that the adults will abandon their nests.
‘It is important to look after our hedges, sod banks and verges as they are vital to our wildlife; providing habitat, shelter, breeding sites, commuting routes and food for a variety of species, as well as contributing to the natural health of our island environment.
‘DEFA would encourage any major cutting work to be done in the winter instead – including any general maintenance. We understand that some cutting will still be necessary in the summer, including maintenance of hedges to ensure visibility and accessibility along our roads. However, thorough checks should be done before cutting begins to make sure there are no nests, eggs or chicks in the area. Cutting without checks would be considered reckless.’