The National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) is reminding the public the cutting, grubbing, burning or other destruction of “vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch” between 1st March and 31st August is prohibited. 

Suspected breaches are investigated by the NPWS and the Gardai.  The NPWS took 31 section 40 prosecution cases in 2021 and it hopes that fewer will be necessary this year.

In Ireland, our relatively low cover of native woodland makes our hedgerows exceptionally important for biodiversity.  Hedgerows provide botanical diversity as well as food and shelter for animals, most notably birds.  They also act as corridors connecting habitats. Untrimmed, thorny hedges are favoured by birds, but birds may nest in any hedge.

It is an offence under Section 22 of the Wildlife Act 1976 to willfully destroy, injure, or mutilate the eggs or nest of a wild bird or to willfully disturb a wild bird on or near a nest containing eggs or un-flown young birds at any time of the year

The photograph above shows a hedgerow that was severely cut and grubbed in County Tipperary in 2020.  

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