Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Questions (368)

Peadar Tóibín


368. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when the regulations contained within the Heritage Act 2018 will commence. [28393/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

The provisions under Section 7 of the Heritage Act 2018 allow for the making of Regulations relating to burning and cutting hedgerows. 

Section 7(1) of the Heritage Act 2018 provides that I as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht,  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 made a decision last February not to make Regulations to extend the season for the burning of vegetation into March 2019.  This decision was taken as there would have been no basis for me to do so given the fact that the relatively dry weather during the six month period when the burning of vegetation could have been undertaken under the law (September to February inclusive) would not have precluded landowners from burning vegetation.  Therefore, the existing provisions in the Wildlife Acts on burning remained in force.

In relation to hedgerows, Section 7(2) of the Heritage Act 2018 provides for the cutting of roadside hedges only during the month of August under Regulations.  Hedgerows are a very important wildlife and biodiversity resources, providing food, shelter, corridors of movement, nesting and hibernation sites for many of our native flora and fauna.  Ireland has some 300,000 kilometres of hedgerow mainly surrounding fields and properties across the country and only roadside hedges are subject to the provisions of the Heritage Act - a fraction of the entirety of the total hedgerow resource in this country.   I will be making an announcement on this issue shortly.