I need to cut back the branches of my trees but there are birds nesting there. When can I do this?
In the UK all nesting birds are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, therefore it is an offence to disturb any nesting bird or to destroy their nest. The breeding season normally takes place between March and August but it can start earlier and last longer so any work should not be carried out within these months. To be certain that the chicks have fledged and the adult birds have left the nest, the best time to cut back trees is in the winter.
There are badgers killing my chickens and damaging property on my land. What steps can I take to prevent this?
Badgers are fully protected by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 which means it is an offence to deliberately kill, trap, injure or cruelly treat a badger. It is also an offence to block access to a badger sett or to allow a dog to enter a sett. The penalty for these offences is a £5,000 fine or up to six months in prison.
In exceptional circumstances, Natural England can grant a licence to interfere with a badger sett. However, a survey would have to be carried out first and a licence would only be given if there were no practical alternatives. There are some controls that do not require a licence and more information can be found on the Natural England website.
I need to carry out repairs to my roof but there are bats roosting there? Can I carry out repairs?
All species of bat are protected by the Species and Habitats Regulations 2010, as well as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Under this law it is an offence to injure or kill a bat or to block entrance to their roost or destroy their roost. You may need a licence before any work can be carried out. For further advice contact the Bat Helpline on 0845 1300 228.
Picture credit: NPAS Ripley