Hedgerows and watercourses are protected by Cross Compliance rules GAEC 14.
Buffer strips apply for 2 metres from the centre of the hedgerow if at least 20m continuous length, watercourse or field ditch (including those which are temporarily dry), and land within 1m of the top of the bank of a ditch or watercourse.
Exceptions apply only for:
Management of the buffer strips:
The use of Roundup is allowed only under the following circumstances:
Farmers have an obligation under GAEC 11* to control invasive and injurious weeds and are allowed to use Roundup for spot treatment to control any of these weeds without being in breach of GAEC 14.
Roundup can be applied through weed-wipers or through hand held sprayers. Any damage to cover surrounding the treated weeds can be re-sown with grass or other cover from 5 days after application.
*GAEC 11. 'You must: take all reasonable steps to prevent the spread on your land and onto adjoining land of 'injurious' weeds; Common Ragwort, Spear Thistle, Creeping (or Field) Thistle, Broadleaved Dock and Curled Dock; and of the 'invasive' weeds; Rhododendron, Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam.'