Restrictions on cutting hedgerows begin on the 1st of March. These restrictions are set out in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 as amended by the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 and the Heritage Act 2018. These Acts stipulate that it is an offence to cut, grub, burn or destroy vegetation on uncultivated land between the 1st of March and the 31st of August each year.
The law is aimed at protecting and maintaining biodiversity by establishing areas where birds, in particular, can thrive during nesting season when they are most vulnerable. Ireland’s hedgerows are a crucial refuge for many native wildlife species in a landscape with relatively few native woodlands in comparison with other countries. Hedgerows provide nesting sites, food, shelter, corridors between habitats and help to mitigate floods, preventing soil erosion and the silting of rivers as well as carbon sequestration.