The Scottish Farmer spoke to NFU Scotland on the permitted reasons a hedge can be cut or trimmed within the closed period between March 1 and August 31.

In the vast majority of cases hedges and trees are not allowed to be cut or trimmed during the nesting season however there are a few important exceptions where management is required.

The Union explained that Scottish farmers are permitted to trim hedges during August if they are sowing the field in oilseed rape or grass. If farmers are sowing other crops, it is possible to trim hedges around the field but only with prior written permissions from SGRPID. The exception only applies to trimming or cutting the side of a hedge or tree that is adjacent to the field to be sown.

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Farmers can also trim hedges or lop branches off trees outside the permitted season if it is “necessary for the purpose of road safety”. This exemption can be used where a tree or hedge overhangs a road, surfaced track, or footpath to which the public has access.

The tree or hedge must be potentially endangering or obstructing the passage of vehicles, pedestrians, or horse riders. Alternatively, out-of-season cutting can also occur when trees or hedges obstruct or interfere with the view of drivers of vehicles or the light from lamps.