Farmers are being urged to remember the hedge cutting regulations which are in place as part of cross compliance to avoid a penalty on their BPS payment.

FUW deputy president Ian Rickman said: “Most farmers will remember that they are not allowed to cut trees or hedges between March 1 to August 31.

If they don’t comply with the rules, they could face a hefty cross compliance penalty on their BPS payment which is avoidable.

“There are exceptions to the standard rule, but only if the conditions are met can you start cutting early or late. You can also carry out hedge laying and coppicing during March providing nesting birds are not disturbed. We however urge our members to make sure they don’t fall foul by accident.”

Other exemptions include the cutting of hedgerows or trees that overhang a highway, road, track or footpath to which the public have access, where the work is necessary because the overhanging vegetation either obstructs the passage of vehicles or pedestrians; obstructs the view of drivers, or the light from a public lamp; or there is a danger to horse-riders.

Farmers are also allowed to cut or trim hedgerows and trees if they are dead, diseased, damaged or insecurely rooted, and are therefore likely to cause a danger by falling onto a highway, road or footpath.

“I would also urge our members to remember that for safety reasons electricity and telephone companies are responsible for the maintenance of any overhanging trees and/or hedges which affect their equipment,” said Ian Rickman.