Despite the IFA’s claims, the bird nesting season does not end early, according to An Taisce which says that the IFA’s calls for a shorter closed period around hedgecutting are unjustified.

“Once more the IFA claim that there is a real basis for a shorter closed period, as the nesting season now occurs earlier after meeting Minister Humphreys to persuade her to shorten the restricted period under the current review of permitted hedgecutting and gorse burning dates by her Department.”

An Taisce has called on the IFA to release the scientific evidence that they are using to justify altering the current hedge cutting and gorse burning dates.

It goes on to say that the IFA’s argument that changing the hedgecutting season will improve road safety is false.

“Under the current legislation hedges can already be cut if there is a potential health and safety issue. For instance, enlightened Local Authorities ensure that only a short distance either side of junctions is cut for road safety and the rest is left.”

Given the dramatic decline in farm biodiversity since the 1970s this is an extremely negative stance for the IFA to take and it is completely against the Green image that the Department of Agriculture and Bord Bia are trying to portray, An Taisce says.