Hedge-cutting season gets under way from 1 September and lasts until 28 February, where hedges in fields and along roadsides can be cut.

Under Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976, as amended by Section 46 of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction by other means of vegetation growing on uncultivated land or in hedges or ditches is restricted between 1 March and 31 August.

Farmers and contractors planning to cut hedges from this week on should check for adequate clearance before passing underneath powerlines, as many hedges are below power lines.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) advises farmers to not burn stubble, bushes, etc, under or near power lines or support poles and masts.

Heritage Bill

This year, the provisions in the Heritage Bill 2016 which include proposals for managed hedge-cutting and burning at certain times within the existing closed period on a pilot two-year basis did not come into force.

This legislation has not yet been passed by the Oireachtas.

Under the bill, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys has proposed changes to the hedge cutting and gorse burning dates.

For hedge cutting, it is proposed that controlled cutting be allowed in August on a two-year pilot basis, and for gorse burning it is proposed to be allowed on a controlled basis in March.

Currently, both hedge cutting and gorse burning are banned from 1 March to 31 August.

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