Public input sought on burning controls

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

A public consultation process regarding possible changes to Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, which governs burning and cutting of hedgerows has been launched by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys.

The main purpose of Section 40 is to protect bird life during the nesting season, to prevent forest fires, and to protect vegetation and wildlife habitats during the months of growth and reproduction.

There are limited exemptions to these restrictions; for example, for health and safety reasons, the destruction of noxious weeds, or during works permitted under statute etc.

However, Minister Humphreys is seeking the views of the public and interested parties to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the Section 40 controls.

"Landowners have suggested that the closed period for burning and cutting, which runs from March 1 to 31 August 31, is too inflexible and that it should be amended to take account of land management issues, she said.

"This review, being initiated by my Department, aims to ensure that the most mutually-beneficial system is in place, while ensuring the protection of biodiversity," she added.

"The public consultation process, will provide stakeholders with an opportunity to input their views on the operation of these controls.

"I would encourage interested parties to make a submission and all views will be considered as part of any potential changes to the controls," said the Minister.

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This consultation document can be found online at www.npws.ie.

Submissions and comments are invited, on or before Friday, January 9, 2015.

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