Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts 1976, as amended, prohibits the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction of vegetation, with certain strict exemptions, from 1 March to 31 August.
Following a review of Section 40, which involved, inter alia, consideration of submissions from interested parties, proposals were announced in December 2015 to introduce legislation to allow for managed hedge cutting and burning at certain times within the existing closed period on a pilot two year basis. The legislation required to allow for these pilot measures is included in the Heritage Bill 2016, which was published in January 2016.
The Bill has completed its passage through Seanad Éireann and has completed Second Stage in Dail Éireann. A date for Committee Stage in the Dail is awaited.
In the meantime, the existing provisions relating to Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts remain in force.