Under the Wildlife Acts, it is against the law to cut, burn or otherwise destroy vegetation including hedges between 1st March and 31st August, but there are exemptions which allow hedge-cutting during the closed period in case of road safety concerns. The ban on hedge-cutting applies to private gardens as much as it does to farms and the wider countryside.
If you witness hedge-cutting between these dates please report it to the local Gardaí and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). You can find contact details for your local NPWS Wildlife Ranger here. We also encourage to get in touch with your local elected representatives to voice your concerns. This helps to encourage that the hedge-cutting ban is enforced and kept in place in the future.
The reason for the hedge-cutting ban is to stop disturbance and destruction of nesting sites of many of our wild bird species. The nesting season for most of our garden and countryside birds begins in March and will continue through the summer months. Our hedges provide a safe space for many birds to nest and an ample food supply for parents and chicks. They are also critical for a range of other invertebrates and mammals, including people.
If you would like to learn more about Ireland’s hedge-cutting ban, please click here and here.