Written answers

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Hedge Cutting Season

Claire Kerrane (Roscommon-Galway, Sinn Fein)
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1254. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the hedge cutting season will be extended by two weeks in recognition of the level of rainfall and the impact on hedgerow management. [3281/20]

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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The dates for the cutting of hedges are set down in primary legislation.  Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts Act prohibits the cutting of vegetation, with certain strict exemptions, from 1 March to 31 August.I do not have the discretion to extend this period into March. 

There is provision in the legislation for some restricted exemptions from the prohibition during the closed period - for example, for works undertaken in the ordinary course of agriculture or forestry, for health and safety reasons, the destruction of noxious weeds, in respect of works permitted under statute and for works undertaken for road safety reasons under Section 70 of the Roads Act 1983.

It is important to point out that the current legislation allows both landowners and public authorities to cut hedges for road safety reasons at any time of the year.Under Roads’ legislation landowners are obliged to ensure that a tree, shrub, hedge or any other vegetation is not a hazard for persons using public roads.This issue was clarified further by the Heritage Act 2018 which aligned the provisions ofRoad Safety and Wildlife legislative provisions.

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