Irish Wildlife Trust: ‘Although it is permitted to cut hedgerows, it is best not to’

The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) has said that although the cutting of hedges is now permitted, “it is really best not to” do it.

The window for cutting hedges opened on September 1 and will remain the case until the annual hedge-cutting ban under the Wildlife Act comes into force next year on March 1.

Also Read: Window for hedge-cutting season opens from today

According to the IWT, Ireland’s hedgerows are a “vital refuge for many native wildlife species in a landscape with little native woodland compared to other countries”.

“Hedgerows provide food, shelter, nesting sites, habitat corridors and are an essential component for flood defences, preventing soil erosion and the silting of rivers as well as carbon sequestration.”

In a statement on Twitter, it added:

“Although it is now permitted to cut hedgerows, it is really best not to.

Autumn is such an important time for wildlife as [it] builds [its] stores for winter. Hedgerows at this time of year are heaving with fruits, nuts and berries so [it’s] much better to hold off with the hedge-cutters.

However, landowners are reminded that they are obliged, under the Roads Act of 1993, to take all reasonable care to ensure that trees, ditches, hedges and other vegetation growing on their land do not pose a danger to people on a public road or public footpath.

The matter was brought to the attention of local landowners by Cork County Council, which is raising awareness of the need to maintain roadside trees and hedges.

Landowners are also reminded that liability for damage, or injury resulting from such hazards, will rest with them.

Tipperary County Council adds that overgrown hedges can impair driver visibility and overhanging branches can cause damage to high-sided vehicles such as lorries, ambulances and fire engines.

It also advises those involved in hedge-cutting to comply with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (as amended) regarding both the safety of their employees and also the safety of the general public. If working on the roadway, use adequate signage to warn road users of the danger ahead.