Disturbance of nesting birds within a garden.

I am pretty sure that disturbing any nesting birds is unlawful whether in a garden or " in the wild".
I've always understood that cutting Hedgerows, etc. is not allowed between March and September for precisely that reason.  
Does this apply to the cutting down of a mature tree in my garden when there is a bird nesting in a shrub some 6 inches away ? Bird in question is a Robin. Also exacerbated by being in a Conservation Area where trees of a certain girth cannot be either pruned or removed without permission.
I think it does but I'd like to be absolutely sure before I start quoting the law not only to my neighbour who hates trees ( untidy things ! ) but also to my local policeman. 

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  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 20,999
    if it can be classed as " disturbance" which IMHO it most certainly is , I'd think it's a no no. 
    Devon.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 5,269
    I think basically you're right - the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence "to take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built".  It's not actually illegal to cut a hedge in the nesting season, but if a bird's nest is damaged (or abandoned, I assume) as a result, you'd be breaking the law.

    The tree is another matter.  Firstly, it's in your garden so the neighbour can't cut it down.  In addition, if the tree is more than 75mm in diameter, measured 1.5m above ground level, you have to give your local planning authority 6 weeks' notice if you want to prune or fell it, when you're in a Conservation Area.  So although normally your neighbour would be allowed to prune any branches which overhung his fence, in this case he can't...

    There's plenty of law to quote!  I think your robin is doubly safe...
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • The Bald GardenerThe Bald Gardener South West ScotlandPosts: 212
    Yeah, best to leave well alone for now I'd say.  I was cutting bushes down a couple of weeks back and I spent more time checking for nests than I actually did in the cutting, still got a bit to cut but it would mean going too close to the sparrows/tits that are there.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 3,325

    You are perfectly entitled to cut your hedges between March and September as long as you check beforehand whether or not there are any nesting birds. We are having ours done next week because they are evergreen and it is the right time of year but also require them to look neat for our charity opening next month - they've got a bit out of hand lately.

  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 7,147
    Thanks to both of the above.
    You've confirmed exactly what I thought.
    Trying to persuade neighbour and policeman is another matter entirely - neither appear to have knowledge of either the law or even any sense of responsibility towards the environment.
    I'm after a very strong brick wall to bang my head against :(
  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 7,147
    Thanks Lizzie and Bald Gardener - I'm happy with my Tree - it's my neighbour who dislikes it - I just wanted to be sure that they cannot demand the removal of a mature tree in my garden- particularly if a bird is nesting within 6 inches of it.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 5,269
    I'm intrigued that a policeman is getting involved...   :o
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • The Bald GardenerThe Bald Gardener South West ScotlandPosts: 212
    If it's on your property tell the neighbour where to get off, it's your tree, and by the sounds of things it's been there a while. 

    I'm really not sure about the legalities but I'd certainly assume that he couldn't demand the removal of anything in your garden that's been there for a while. Think the only thing you can do with trees etc on neighbouring properties is cut down anything protruding over the property border and return it for disposal. Like I say though, I'm far from an expert. 
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 5,324
    "Cutting Hedgerows, etc. is not allowed between March and September.  "

    This seems to be exactly season when most hedgerows are cut, strimmed, hacked by councils.



  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 7,147
    I appreciate your view Fire - could it be different in London as opposed to Somerset  - rural, urban or WHY ?
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