Cutting Do’s and Don’ts

The use of cutting or swiping machinery is not subject to the same statutory seasonal limits as muirburn.  To avoid disturbance, injury or death of ground-nesting birds, cutting should only take place during the muirburn season.


Tractor-mounted flail mower (Photo credit: SNH)


  • Have consent from Scottish Natural Heritage, if cutting on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and cutting, or the use of vehicles and machinery, is listed as an ‘Operation Requiring Consent’ (ORC) (See the Sitelink webpage for ORC details for all sites).


  • Cause damage to a scheduled monument.
  • Intentionally or recklessly:
    • Damage the natural features of a SSSI.
    • Harass birds listed in Schedule 1A of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
    • At any time take, damage, destroy or interfere with any nest habitually used by any wild bird included in Schedule 1A of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
    • Disturb or destroy the nests, eggs, or young of breeding birds.
    • Kill or injure reptiles.
    • Kill, injure or disturb protected mammals, such as badger, wildcat, otter, pine marten or water vole (for water vole, protection is limited to within the burrow).
    • Damage or destroy the place of shelter of a protected mammal (all the above species).