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 included consideration of submissions from interested parties, proposals were announced in December 2015 to introduce legislation to allow for managed hedge cutting and burning of vegetation at certain times within the existing closed period on a pilot two year basis. The relevant legislation was included in the Heritage Bill 2016, which was enacted in July last year.
Section 7(1) of the Heritage Act 2018 provides that I may make Regulations to allow the burning of vegetation during such periods in the month of March and in such parts of the country as specified in the Regulations.
I recently made a decision not to make Regulations to extend the season for the burning of vegetation into March 2019. Therefore, the existing provisions in the Wildlife Acts on burning remain in force.
My Department gave wide publicity to the fact that I decided not to extend the burning season into March. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine also issued a statement warning about the illegal burning of land during the closed season.