The Department of Agriculture’s move to allocate all farm hedgerows as 10m wide, regardless of their actual size and condition, has been described as “disappointing” by environmental group Hedgerows Ireland.

Group member Dr Alan Moore said the approach of the Department’s ‘Space for Nature’ estimates under the new CAP “actually increases the vulnerability of remaining hedgerows”.

“It doesn’t fit with the evidence. You’d imagine with the satellite images they could have done better. Any fair-minded person would say there’s a problem here,” he said.

‘Perfect storm’

Dr Moore described a “perfect storm” where farmers with poor hedgerows are being rewarded and those with hedgerow above the “inflated estimates” can still remove up to 500m without prior authorisation.

He suggested a 5m allocation for hedgerow width would be “better” and called on the Department to explain the rationale behind the estimates.


Hedgerows Ireland is also seeking a reduction in the 500m allowance for unauthorised hedge removal to a maximum of 20m.

“Our new CAP plan has not grabbed the opportunity to reward farmers who have quality hedgerow with high sequestration,” Dr Moore said.

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