Hedgerow cutting as well as upland burning (slash & burn) remains prohibited until September 1st 2017 after proposals to reduce the prohibited timeframe was put forward earlier this year.
The ban was put in place during breeding seasons for bird species that are known to inhabit hedgerow habitats – often the majority of these species are protected and endangered. The closed season runs from 1st March and 31st August every year, making it illegal to carry out these activities during this timeframe.
Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs – Heather Humphreys TD, is currently still working to get the Heritage Bill passed through the Dáil. The Heritage Bill is greatly favoured by Irish rural farmers which resulted in the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) lobbying a large majority of senators last year in a bid to promote the progress of the Bill in the Dáil.
The part of the Heritage Bill that refers to reducing the timeframe that the season for hedgerow cutting and upland burning is prohibited is of particular concern to Irish conservationists and ecologists throughout the country as it damages bird populations and furthers threatens endangered populations in rural Ireland.
To date, there is over 26,000 signatures opposing the Heritage Bill coming into play in Ireland. This petition is being promoted by Birdwatch Ireland, the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) and the Irish Hedge Laying Association of Ireland – who are collaborating in informing and encouraging the public on the Heritage Bill and breeding seasons of birds as well as creating the petition for the public to oppose this Bill being passed in the Dáil.
The cutting and burning season will now remain closed until 1st September 2017 in Ireland.