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An Taisce seek Scientific Reasoning behind Heritage Bill
An Tasic Press Release July 12th
The Heritage Bill completed its passage through the Oireachtas last night, despite widespread opposition from environmental groups, opposition parties, and concerned citizens and farmers working together with biodiversity.
Road safety was cited as the reason for the extended hedge-cutting season, but hedgerow cutting for road safety reasons is already allowed for at any time of the year under the Wildlife Act [Note 3], and allowing landowners to self-define road safety issues may result in a free for all for hedgerow cutting, which will be detrimental for late-nesting birds, such as the endangered Yellowhammer, and for threatened pollinators who depend on hedges for food. Illegal hedgerow cutting is already poorly enforced under the Wildlife Act, and allowing for August cutting will just further exacerbate this situation.
“This Bill will be disastrous for the wildlife of our uplands and hedgerows, and comes at a time when wildlife is in trouble across the globe. The Irish Government should be leading the way in protecting our wildlife, but instead have chosen to take a huge leap in the wrong direction.”
The basic research data to support this Bill is conspicuously absent. The passing of this Bill is very obviously based on the views of the large farming lobby, and nothing to do with fundamental science.”
Dr. Elaine McGoff concluded:
“People depend on wildlife for a number of reasons, more than most people realise, including the production of the food we eat, and the negative impact of this Bill will be felt by us all”
For further information, contact:
Dr. Elaine McGoff, An Taisce Natural Environment Officer: +353 1 707 7063
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
The Heritage Bill
Under Section 40 Wildlife Act vegetation on uncultivated land and any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch is protected during the period March to August, inclusive. The Heritage Bill (2016) proposes to make changes to S40 to permit, under Regulation, “the cutting of vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch on the roadside” during August and the “burning of vegetation” in March.
The proposed changes are included in sections 7 and 8 of the Heritage Bill
Under Section 40 Wildlife (Amendment) Act (2000) vegetation on uncultivated land and any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch is protected during the period March to August, inclusive.
Section 46 of Wildlife (Amendment) Act (2000) allows that the closed period shall not apply to the cutting, grubbing or destroying of vegetation in the course of any works being duly carried out for reasons of public health or safety by a Minister of the Government or a body established or regulated by or under a statute;
Article 5 of the Birds Directive which requires member states to provide for the protection of birds, including during the period of breeding and rearing of chicks. The proposed changes to the Wildlife Act must comply with the relevant articles of the both the Birds and Habitats Directives. The setting of fires within within Natura 2000 sites at any time of the year also requires compliance with Article 6 of the Habitats Directive.
About An Taisce
An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage. We are an independent charitable voice for the environment and for heritage issues. We are not a government body, semi-state or agency. Founded in 1948, we are one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations.