03/02/2015 Minister Humphreys establishes Working Group to consider burning and hedgecutting controls
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, has today (Tuesday) announced she is setting up a Working Group within her Department to consider the range of submissions received in response to the public consultation process on Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, which deals with controls on hedgecutting and burning for the protection of biodiversity.
The main purposes of Section 40 are to protect bird life during the nesting season, to prevent forest fires, and to protect vegetation and wildlife habitats during the months of growth and reproduction. The Minister announced a public consultation on the issue last November and around 180 submissions were received by the Department.
Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:
“I am pleased with the high level of submissions received on this issue, which is of considerable interest to farmers, conservationists and those living in rural areas. The current closed period for burning and cutting runs from 1 March and 31 August, and some argue that this should be amended to take account of land management and road safety issues.
“I want to ensure that a fair and safe system is in place, while ensuring the protection of biodiversity. Due to the high volume of submissions received, I have decided to establish a Working Group to consider all views expressed. I have asked the Working Group to report back to me with a range of proposals promptly.
“Once this process is complete, I intend to launch a public awareness process so all stakeholders, including local authorities, landowners and members of the public, are fully informed as to the restrictions on hedge burning and cutting.”