Fianna Fáil is proposing an amendment to the Heritage Bill that would reduce the scope of the proposed relaxed hedgecutting dates. While the bill initiated by the Government more than a year ago would allow cutting in August of “any hedge” on a farmer’s land within the regulations of a two-year pilot scheme, the Fianna Fáil amendment would change this to “roadside hedges” only.

The Heritage Bill has been bogged down in debates on this section in the Seanad since November. Fianna Fáil senator Paul Daly told the Irish Farmers Journal that while hedgecutting is already allowed for road safety reasons during the closed period, a farmer must obtain permission from the local authority to do so. “By the time that happens, if there was a real risk, it could cause a serious accident,” he said.