An Taisce, Birdwatch Ireland, Hedge Laying Association of Ireland and Irish Wildlife Trust have joined forces to combat The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, proposed changes to Section 40 of the Wildlife Act that will allow cutting of hedgerows from the 1st of August. Despite overwhelming evidence that this proposal will have serious adverse consequences for Ireland’s already threatened and declining biodiversity, see our submission to DAHG here.
Everyday during the month of August we will be giving you a reason a day how the proposed changes will be detrimental to Ireland's natural heritage and wildlife. Whilst we understand the need for proper management of our hedgerows - we want to ensure landowners and farmers are supported to manage them in a way that works for farming, road safety and wildlife. Under existing rules, farmers have six months between September and February to manage hedgerows effectively, and there is already provision for hedge cutting for safety on our roads.
As well as being iconic symbols of the Irish rural landscape, hedgerows are extremely important habitats for biodiversity, including many native birds and bats. Hedgerows provide food, shelter and safety for them, and they are also an essential component for flood defense, preventing soil erosion and the silting of rivers as well as carbon sequestration. Hedgerows are also very important for farmers in wildlife terms, acting as habitats for pollinators and for predators of species regarded as pests.
Fintan Kelly, Natural Environment Officer, An Taisce says: "Ireland's hedgerows are some of the most iconic features of the Irish landscape. They are of huge cultural significance with some of them dating back thousands of years. They are also very important for biodiversity, as they cover more area then our remaining native woodlands and act as corridors linking habitats across the landscape. The greatest threat to hedgerow biodiversity aside from removal is intensive management. Allowing hedge cutting in August will seriously impact on already critical levels of biodiversity loss on Irish farmland. Such a move would make a mockery of Ireland's already questionable reputation as a producer of environmentally friendly food and drink."
So we need you to join in on the campaign to resist hedgecutting and grubbing of vegetation in August (from next year) and burning in the uplands in March.
Check out our Facebook and Twitter everyday during the month to see a new reason why hedgerows are vital for Ireland. We need everyone to tweet @HHumphreysFG and @EndaKennyTD and let them know that you do not want to see Ireland's wildlife being destroyed. Also, we need you to help us to share, tweet and repost our posts in the 31 Days 31 Reasons campaign.
Our petition has now passed over 22,000 signatures, thank you for signing and please continue to share our petition to let the Minister know that you oppose the proposed changes to the Wildlife Act.