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Summer Grass Cutting

Grass Cutting - May 2019

Summer is finally here!  I am sure I am not alone in thinking there’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly cut grass on a midsummer’s day.  Before you fight through the dust and cobwebs to the back of your shed and rescue the lawn mower or strimmer, there is something you really should consider…

We’re currently straddling a crucial time for ground nesting birds, like the Skylark and Lapwing, which make use of our grassland areas and sometimes even our gardens.  The simple act of giving your garden a trim could very easily be disturbing a nest, breeding bird or vulnerable chicks. This is especially true for larger vegetated areas, such as development sites, where the density of nesting birds may be higher.

The Countryside and Wildlife Act 1981 (as amended) states that, between 1 March and 31 July, all suitable nest sites including hedgerows, trees, open ground and buildings, require inspection for the presence of breeding birds before any works can occur.  This includes getting on top of an overgrown lawn.

This legislation has implications for the timing of developments and construction projects.  All birds, their nests and eggs are protected by law from disturbance or destruction, which may result in:

  • Birds failing to nest.
  • Nest abandonment.
  • Eggs failing to hatch.
  • Chicks dying from exposure and lack of food.
  • Increased vulnerability to predators.

Song thrush nest

How Can EcoNorth Help?

Vegetation clearance and grass cutting work can be undertaken by staff here at EcoNorth.  We are aware of the legal implications of nest disturbance and can provide clients with the very best guidance during the breeding period.

When conducted in conjunction with a systematic nest check, by a suitably qualified Ecologist, hand cutting grass is an ecologically sensitive and effective preemptive method of avoiding disturbance to breeding birds.

Hand strimming and brush cutting are particularly useful on sites with uneven ground, where nests are easily obscured.  This soft approach also allows the ground to be inspected prior to cutting, which further reduces the potential for nest disturbance or destruction.

If you are interested in grassland maintenance services that EcoNorth can provide or have any questions about whether you might need to carry out breeding bird checks, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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