The Irish Wildlife Trust is highlighting that the ban on hedge cutting still runs until the end of August 31st. The Irish Wildlife Trust’s office has received numerous calls from around the country regarding illegal hedge cutting this summer and there is now a real concern that this will escalate during the month of August.
The Irish Wildlife Trust reiterates that Section 40 of the Wildlife Act still clearly outlines the period of the ban from March 1st until August 31st, and urges people to report any illegal cutting of hedges to their local Gardai or National Parks and Wildlife Ranger to help ensure the protection of wildlife.
A recent freedom of information enquiry has 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. 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.
Lorraine Bull, Development Officer with the Irish Wildlife Trust says: “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.”
©Sebastian Ballard [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons