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ICMSA call for Wildlife Act review

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A shortening of the 'closed period' for farm hedge maintenance is being sought by the ICMSA.

In a letter to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the ICMSA's Pat Rohan said that "very substantial amendments" to the Wildlife Act were justified to allow farmers to commence hedge cutting a month earlier each year.

He has proposed that the ending of the closed period for cutting hedges - during which it is illegal to cut hedgerows for fear of disturbing nesting birds - be brought forward to July 31. The closed period currently runs from March 1 to August 31.

He said research showed that birds had left their nests by the end of July and it was no longer tenable for Irish farmers to be prohibited from maintaining hedgerows during August.

The original closed period was set out in the 1976 Wildlife Act and amended and extended by the Wildlife Amendment Act 2000.

"We have a situation in both the cutting and burning of hedgerows on enclosed and unclosed lands where we now know for certain that the duration and timing of the closed periods are unnecessary and should be amended to keep up with the scientific research," Mr Rohan said.

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