Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (279)

Tom Fleming

Ceist:

279. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will now apply a derogation to extend the season for controlled mountain gorse burning; if he will take into consideration the current extreme weather conditions and come to the assistance of farmers-landowners who have not been given the opportunity to carry out controlled gorse burning; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11669/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Arts)

The Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2012 prohibit the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction of vegetation, with certain strict exemptions, from 1 March to 31 August during the nesting and breeding season for birds and wildlife. There are no provisions in the Acts which would allow a derogation to be applied. Vegetation such as hedgerows and scrub is important as wildlife habitat and needs to be managed in the interests of both farming and biodiversity. I have initiated a review of the current legislation to ensure that it remains both effective and balanced. As part of that review, the potential for setting the relevant dates by statutory instrument, rather than in primary legislation, as is the position currently, will be examined.