Plans to allow roadside hedge cutting during August scrapped

The Government had previously favoured relaxing the regulations further to allow limited burning of land during March and hedge-cutting during August.
The Government had previously favoured relaxing the regulations further to allow limited burning of land during March and hedge-cutting during August.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Government will not be proceeding with regulations that would have allowed general roadside hedge cutting during August this year on a trial basis.

The Minister for Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan said the decision recognises the increasing threats to biodiversity nationally and globally and follows a number of Government initiatives to protect and nurture Ireland’s flora and fauna. 

The minister was given discretionary powers under the Heritage Act 2018 to allow the cutting of roadside hedges during the month of August on a trial basis in 2019 and 2020.

Hedge cutting for road safety purposes will still be allowed at all times of the year.

“Hedgerows are a very important wildlife habitat, providing food, shelter, corridors of movement, nest and hibernation sites for many of our native flora and fauna," Minister Madigan said.

“While the Heritage Act made provision to allow the cutting of roadside hedges in August on a pilot basis, it’s clear from recent international and national studies including the IPBES Report, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the recent Irish Wetland Bird Survey that we need to provide greater protection to our nature and biodiversity.”

“Hedges sustain nature and from March to August they protect nesting and breeding birds and wildlife. It would be wrong and would send out all the wrong signals to extend hedge cutting further into August this year.”

The Minister said it was still open to landowners under the Roads Act 1993 to take reasonable steps to ensure that a tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation is not a hazard or potential hazard to persons using a public road and that it does not obstruct or interfere with the safe use of a public road or the maintenance of a public road.

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Under the terms of the Wildlife Act, roadside hedge cutting is permitted between 1st September and the end of February.

“I am happy that this decision strikes the correct balance between the need to protect nature on the one hand and ensure public safety on our roads on the other," the Minister said.

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