An extension to the hedge-cutting season has been ruled out – with the annual ban on hedge-cutting coming into effect today (Monday, March 1), the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has confirmed.
Last week the Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) called on the department to provide clarity on its interpretation of Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 as amended by the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 and the Heritage Act 2018, of the term, “in the ordinary course of agriculture or forestry”.
In response to this, a spokesperson for the Department of Heritage said: “In regard to the question on hedge cutting under S40 of the Wildlife Acts, it is not the Department’s role to interpret legislation.
No extension has been granted to the hedge-cutting season. The minister has no power to change the dates in which hedge cutting can occur as set out in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 as amended by the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 and the Heritage Act 2018, the season may be extended only by primary legislation enacted by the Oireachtas.
The department reiterated this year that the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction of vegetation is banned from March 1 to August 31, with certain strict exemptions.
There is provision in the legislation for some restricted exemptions from the prohibition during the closed period.