The National Parks and Wildlife Service has released a reminder notice to all landowners informing them that the deadline for the cutting, scrubbing and burning of vegetation on uncultivated land is the first of March. All works must be completed by the start of the official Birds and Wildlife Nesting and Breeding Season on the 1st of March. The Restrictions on the destruction of hedgerows and the destruction of vegetation on uncultivated land will continue to 31st August 2011. Many of Irelands best known spcies nest in hedgerows and scrub, Pictured above is a long eared owl who commonly nest in old fir trees and scrub patches on marginal land. These uncultivated areas have been targeted by landowners during 2010 for clearing and grubbing. This is a direct result of restrictions imposed by the dept. of Agriculture in relation to Single Farm Payments.
Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976, as amended by Section 46 of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, restricts the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction by other means of vegetation growing on uncultivated land or in hedges or ditches during the nesting and breeding season for birds and wildlife, from 1 March to 31 August.
In Ireland hedges are of exceptional importance as habitats, particularly for birds but also for wild flowers, shrubs and trees and provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife and enhance the diversity of nature in our countryside.
These restrictions apply not only to private land-users but also to local authorities, public bodies and to contractors. Although there are some exemptions to the above restrictions, for works carried out during the normal course of agriculture and forestry or where they are executed for public health and safety reasons by a statutory body, it is nevertheless this Department’s policy to prosecute where there appears to have been a breach of the law.
The assistance of the public is sought in bringing to attention any alleged unlawful cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction, by reporting details to the Gardaí or to the local Conservation Rangers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Reported instances will, as far as practicable, be investigated.
The provisions of the Wildlife Acts in relation to Section 40 including the relevant exemptions may be accessed through the NPWS website at http://www.npws.ie/en/WildlifePlanningtheLaw/Legislation/