Posted: 28/10/2015 at 11:38
Yes, Portugal laurel, Prunus lusitanicus.
How short to cut the branches is a difficult one to answer. The odd one might die back but over all it will be OK. I favour cutting back to the main stem as it looks less ugly initially. But see what others think.
The important thing is to cut it well back from where you want the hedge to be eventually, otherwise the stumps are exposed too easily after trimming