The hedge-cutting season opens for all from Tuesday 1 September.

Clare County Council is encouraging a joint approach with communities and groups of local residents and landowners for the cutting of hedges or trees which need attention.

The grant scheme will provide a grant of €50/km for roadside hedges or overhanging trees that need to be attended to. The minimum length of road network per application is 5km. Application forms and further details are available by contacting your local area office or the Transportation Department at Clare County Council.

The legislation governing the cutting of verges and hedges dictates that it can only be carried out before 1 March or after 31 August to protect birds nesting in the ditches during that period. Many will argue now that the birds’ nesting season is earlier and, therefore, cutting hedges after 31 July could provide a workable solution for everybody.

August is a busy month for harvesting and farm work, especially on tillage farms.

Farmers planting oilseed rape will often not get a chance to maintain hedgerows before planting the crop.

A commonsense approach is needed to protect all interests. Also, there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding what can and cannot be cut during the closed season. The official line is absolutely nothing, but in the interest of road safety, local authorities have made the decision to trim verges at intersections and potential areas where safety is a concern. September is also a month when the schools reopen.

This will increase traffic on the roads at peak times during the day. Inevitably, the evenings will draw in too. All people using the roads need to take care when approaching working machines and allow the operator to manoeuvre out of the way. Contractors must also have appropriate signage and warnings to highlight where they are working.

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Stay safe while hedge-cutting