UK Parliament has brought new hedgerow regulations – The Management of Hedgerows (England) Regulations 2024 – into law.

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the regulations put the baseline for hedgerow management practices into law, providing a consistent approach for the protection across the country.

This includes a two-metre buffer strip, which is measured from the centre of a hedgerow, where a green cover must be established and maintained.

No cultivation or the application of pesticides or fertilisers should take place within this buffer strip.

The regulations also state that there is a hedgerow cutting ban from March 1 until August 31 (inclusive).

The regulations will be enforced by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), which will hold a public consultation on how to implement and enforce them in due course.


Defra said the practices in the regulations are subject to exceptions, which are found in the legislation.

“They broadly mirror the previous approach under cross compliance. This will make it straightforward for farmers and others who are familiar with the requirements,” the department’s farming blog stated.

“Many farmers and land managers are already going much further than the rules contained in the new regulations.

“This is shown through the uptake of hedgerow management actions through our environmental land management schemes. Over 20,000 agreements contribute to the management of over 60,000 miles of hedgerows in England.”

Defra said the new regulations support those participating in its schemes or receiving grants by providing a basis of good hedgerow management that all must follow.

The regulations are designed to provide an extra level of reassurance that the same management approach is used across the country.