Roadside hedge-cutting won’t be allowed during August

The cutting of hedges along roadsides will not be allowed this August, following a decision by Josepha Madigan, the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, which was announced today, Tuesday, July 16.

In a statement, Minister Madigan said that her decision “recognises the increased threats to biodiversity nationally and globally and follows a number of Government initiatives to protect and nurture Ireland’s flora and fauna”.

Under the Heritage Act 2018, the minister was given discretionary powers to allow hedge-cutting in August on a trial basis in 2019 and 2020.

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.

“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…that we need to provide greater protection to our nature and biodiversity,” Minister Madigan said.

Hedge-cutting for the purpose of road safety is still permitted, with the minister saying: “It is 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.

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.

“This Government is making real progress protecting and restoring our environment. The recent All-of-Government Climate Action Plan is proof of this,” concluded Minister Madigan.