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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 18 January 2022

Don't forget there's a ban on hedge cutting - and you could be prosecuted for it

Hedgerows are a vital refuge for a number of native species in Ireland.

Image: Sebastian Ballard via Wikimedia Commons

THE IRISH WILDLIFE Trust is seeking to highlight the ban on hedge cutting which runs until the end of August after receiving a number of calls of illegal cutting from around the country over the summer months.

The IWT said there is now a real concern this will escalate during the month of August. A recent freedom of information enquiry revealed that since 2011, there have been 40 prosecutions for illegal hedge cutting, with the majority of cases having a fine imposed.

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

IWT development officer Lorraine Bull said August is a particularly crucial month for wildlife to use hedgerows.

“A number of wildflower species are in flower in August, providing vital food resources for our bee and butterfly pollinators. Birds, such as the Yellowhammer, nest well into September and chicks sitting in the nest can be disturbed and even killed as heavy hedge cutting machinery fires small pieces of debris straight into the hedge at great velocity. We must ensure that our wildlife laws are enforced to help protect our native wildlife.”

Anyone who sees illegal hedge cutting is being urged to contact local gardaí or the National Parks and Wildlife ranger.

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