Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 26 May 2017

'There is no bird foolish enough to nest on the side of the road'

The current rules prohibits the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction of vegetation, with certain strict exemptions, from 1 March to 31 August.
The current rules prohibits the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction of vegetation, with certain strict exemptions, from 1 March to 31 August.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Ireland’s hedgecutting laws were described as "pure nonsense" in the Dail this week, with another call for farmers to be allowed cut roadside hedges all year round in the interests of road safety.

Independent TD, Mattie McGrath said there is need to deal with the law preventing the cutting of hedges which he described as ‘pure nonsense’.

“To quote Deputy Danny Healy-Rae, there is no bird foolish enough to nest on the side of the road where there are lorries passing, so they go well into the fields to nest.

McGrath highlighted that he is involved with the Association of Farm Contractors Ireland and has been lobbying for years to allow the hedges to be cut.

“We discussed this in the talks on the programme for Government last year but, lo and behold, we have to get permission from the county council,” he said.

“Why can we not just have permission in the interests of road safety and of saving lives?

“When a tractor is coming out of a field, it is probably 7ft out of the field before the cab is out and it could be 10 ft.

“If there is an implement on the front of the tractor.

“There could be 5ft of scrub and bush that is nothing but rubbish.

“If it is cut clean, the birds would have plenty of time to mate and hatch in the fields,” he said.

“I am all for our bird species but it is ridiculous how the Wildlife Acts are directly impeding road safety.”

Deputy McGrath said the current rules are contradictory as well as being unsafe and unwise.

“Farmers will cut the hedges,” he said.

Following a review of the laws by Government, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys announced proposals in December 2015 to introduce legislation to allow for managed hedge cutting and burning at certain times within the existing closed period on a pilot two year basis.

The legislation required to allow for these pilot measures is included in the Heritage Bill 2016, which was published in January 2016.

The Bill is currently at Committee Stage in Seanad Éireann.

In the meantime, the existing provisions relating to Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts remain in force. The current rules prohibits the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction of vegetation, with certain strict exemptions, from 1 March to 31 August.


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