July 29th, 2016
The Environmental Pillar have reiterated that it remains illegal to routinely cut hedges during the month of August.
In a statement released yesterday, the advocacy coalition of 28 Irish NGOs have reinforced that under the Wildlife Acts, it is illegal to routinely cut hedgerows during the closed period, which begins on March 1st each year and continues until the 31st of August.
Commenting on the vital role that intact hedgerows play for wildlife during the month of August, Policy Officer at BirdWatch Ireland and spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar, Oonagh Duggan said: “Hedgerows are hugely important for birds and other wildlife especially for providing places for nesting, for food and for shelter. Several species of birds nest in hedgerows right through August and into September. One of these is the Yellowhammer whose populations have reduced dramatically due to habitat loss. Hedgecutting outside of the current legal period could push these birds further towards extinction. Our birds are an integral part of natural heritage.”
Almost 20,000 people have signed a campaign to oppose changes in proposed legislation which would reduce existing protections and allow for cutting of hedgerows in August in the future. Despite the opposition to these proposals, this Bill could be re-introduced by Minister Heather Humphreys in the autumn. At present, however, the existing protections are still in force.