Farmers must apply for permission to cut hedges in August

PUBLISHED: 10:19 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:19 19 July 2018

Viewed through a hedgerow, a tractor at work in a Norfolk field.  Picture: Denise Bradley

Viewed through a hedgerow, a tractor at work in a Norfolk field. Picture: Denise Bradley

East Anglian farmers still have time to apply for an exemption from a hedge-cutting ban on land which will be planted with oilseed rape or temporary grass during August.

Rural agents at Strutt and Parker said cross-compliance rules governing the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) for farm subsidies prevent the cutting or trimming of hedgerows until September 1, in order to protect birdlife.

However, farmers who have been granted a written derogation by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), are able to cut or trim hedges from August 1 on land being used to drill oilseed rape or temporary grassland during that month.

“Growers who have not yet applied for a derogation should still have time to do so,” said farm consultant Jason Cantrill of Strutt and Parker’s Norwich office.

“The process is straightforward: Growers need to email the RPA with details of the land parcels they want the derogation for, along with their name, address and SBI number. The subject line of the email should be marked ‘Cross-compliance derogation’.

‘In our experience, the RPA usually comes back with written confirmation of the derogation within two or three weeks. Growers need to wait until they have written permission before carrying out any work, or they could face BPS penalties.”

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