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It is an offence to cut down a hedge or tree intentionally or recklessly whilst there are birds nesting in it.

Reckless is a term often used in legal definitions. In this context it means that if you cut the tree down and you knew there was a chance that birds were nesting there and you didn't check, and there were birds nesting there, then you would have been reckless and, therefore, guilty of the offence.

The penalties are imprisonment and/or a fine. If there is more than one bird, nest or egg then there will be a separate fine for each one.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.