Farmers must now plant twice the length of any hedgerow they remove, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.

The requirement has been in place since 1 January and means that if a farmer removes 50m of hedgerow, they must now plant a new 100m somewhere else on their farm.

Prior to 1 January, farmers had to only plant the same length of new hedgerow. The regulation is required for farmers to receive their direct payment.

Minister McConalogue reminded farmers of the new requirement while responding to a parliamentary question from Labour party leader Ivana Bacik TD.

Deputy Bacik asked the Minister if he would change a provision where the destruction of 500m of hedgerow is currently allowed without assessment or special permissions.

Hedgerows Ireland had made the ask as part of a recent protest at the Dáil.


Minister McConalogue explained that under the environmental impact assessment (agriculture) regulations, farmers require their hedgerows to be screened, and if necessary given a full appropriate assessment, prior to their removal of a hedgerow where the length of hedgerow to be removed exceeds 500m or where the field size following removal of the hedgerow will be greater than 5ha.

“If the proposed removal would breach either of these thresholds, the farmer is required to submit a screening application to my Department.

“If the application is not screened as having no significant environmental impact, a full appropriate assessment is required before permission can be granted to remove the hedgerow in question,” the Minister said.

However, he committed to review these regulations and announced that a consultation process for all stakeholders will soon commence.


Minister McConalogue also noted that in the case of hedgerow removals, irrespective of length and including where this is below the 500m thresholds, farmers in receipt of direct payment supports are still required to comply with conditionality requirements under the CAP Strategic Plan.

Farmers must plant twice the length of any hedgerow removed.

“This conditionality means that removal of hedgerows is only permitted in certain exceptional circumstances, for example road safety or to accommodate a building extension.

“It is also important to note that where any hedgerow is being removed, as of 1 January 2023 there is a requirement to replace twice the length of hedgerow in advance of removal. Prior to this, the requirement was to replace equivalent length of hedgerow.

“Under the eco-scheme element of the new CAP strategic plan, from 2023 hedgerows are also now being rewarded through payments for space for nature,” he said.

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