12.—(1) Except where sub-paragraph (2), (3) or (4) applies, a farmer must not cut or trim any hedgerow during the period within any year beginning with 1st March and ending with 31st July.
(2) A farmer may cut or trim a hedgerow at any time if it is necessary to cut or trim it because—
(a)it overhangs a highway or any other road or footpath, over which there is a public or private right of way, so as to endanger or obstruct the passage of vehicles or pedestrians;
(b)it obstructs or interferes with the view of drivers of vehicles or the light from a public lamp;
(c)it overhangs a highway so as to endanger or obstruct the passage of horse-riders; or
(d)it is dead, diseased, damaged or insecurely rooted, and because of its condition it, or part of it, is likely to cause danger by falling on a highway, road or footpath.
(3) A farmer may carry out hedge-laying and coppicing during the period beginning with 1st March and ending with 30th April.
(4) A farmer may trim a hedgerow by hand during a period of six months beginning with the first day after the hedgerow is laid.
(5) A farmer need not comply with the requirement in paragraph (1) to the extent that the Secretary of State has, in order to enhance the environment, improve public or agricultural access, or for reasons relating to livestock or crop production, given the farmer written permission to do so.