Robert Rutt invoiced DEFRA for an £8,000 income loss for each of August 2015, 2016 and 2017. He added a letter protesting against current British regulations banning hedge cutting in August, offering to travel to London to meet officials and discuss the ban.

Hedges can be cut only from 1 September in the UK, unless a farmer applies for a derogation to trim hedges before sowing oilseed rape or temporary grassland in August.

Rutt offered a solution to the Department: “Return the arable start date to 1 August and then put the grassland start date to 1 September. Simple,” he wrote.

In the Republic of Ireland, hedge-cutting remains banned in August, except for road safety reasons, pending proposed legislation introducing a degree of flexibility for farmers. The Heritage Bill covering the proposal has met strong opposition in the Oireachtas and is scheduled to be discussed again in the autumn.

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