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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Shrubs in Ireland ... Hedging in Ireland

Hedge laws in Ireland, Legal requirements for hedge cutting.


 
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 7:39 pm    Post subject: Hedge laws in Ireland, Legal requirements for hedge cutting. Reply with quote

Hedge laws in Ireland, Legal requirements for hedge cutting.
by GPI

Can I cut back an old overgrown hedge Question
Are hedges protected and can I be charged with a criminal act if I kill one. Question
Can I clear a hedge from the front of my house building site Question
My hedge obscures my view as I exit my property, can I remove it Question
A site has been bought near me, is there any law I can refer to which could prevent the cutting or destruction of the hedgerow within the area Question

These and other similar questions are topics which regularly come up in discussions with gardeners, house owners, builders, farmers etc. At times the debate on these subjects can become quite heated, so I have decided to show where the law stands on these issues.

. Fuchsia hedgerow on the Dingle Peninsula, photo / picture / image.

"Is it safe to cut back my hedge now?" was a question put to me during the week by a very worried lady. But it didn't end there, as this was not just a regular "what's the best time to prune" query. It was what she said next that puzzled me for a minute or two, "You see, I'd cut it back now, only I'm afraid of getting fined or seeing my name in the paper if I get caught".

"Whatever gave you that idea", I asked, and she explained that a wildlife expert on the radio had said it was illegal to cut your hedge from early March through to the end of August. Then it dawned on me that it was more than likely a wildlife protection law of some sort to preserve the hedges during the nesting/breeding season of birds and wildlife. "I'll check into it for you and report back" I told her, which I duly did, and here is what I found.
It's a bit of a mouthful, as these things often are, but here goes.

Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976, incorporating section 46 of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000

Arrow (a) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 1st day of March and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated.

Arrow (b) It shall be an offence for a person to cut grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch during the period mentioned in paragraph (a ) of this subsection.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply in relation to - (a) the destroying, in the ordinary course of agriculture or forestry, of any vegetation growing on or in any hedge or ditch;
(b) the cutting or grubbing of isolated bushes or clumps or gorse, furze or whin or the mowing of isolated growths or fern in the ordinary course of agriculture.

Arrow (c) The cutting, grubbing or destroying of vegetation in the course of any works being duly carried out for reasons of public health or safety by a Minister or the Government or a body established or regulated by or under a statute.
(cc) the clearance of vegetation in the course of fisheries development works carried out by the Central Fisheries Board or a regional fisheries board in the exercise of its functions under the Fisheries Acts, 1959 to 1999;

Arrow (d) the destroying of any noxious weed to which the Noxious Weeds Act 1936, applies

Arrow (e) the clearance of vegetation in the course of road or other construction works or in the development or preparation of sites on which any building or other structure in intended to be provided.

Arrow (f) The removal or destruction of vegetation required by a notice served by the Minister under section 62(1) of the Act of 1946 to be removed or destroyed;

__________________________________

The word to look out for in that piece is uncultivated, as these restrictions do not apply to hedgerows on cultivated land such as garden hedges. So the lady had nothing to worry about from the law, she was well within her rights to cut back her hedge as and when she pleased.

What had frightened the lady originally was more than likely a statement from the department of the environment where the Minister John Gormley asked for the assistance of the public in bringing to his attention any alleged unlawful cutting, by reporting details to the Gardai or to the local National Parks and Wildlife Service office of his Department. The Minister made it clear that it is his policy to prosecute those found to be in breach of this legislation, for example in recent years the National Parks and Wildlife Service brought a number of successful prosecutions for breaches of Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts against both individuals and local authorities.

Now even though you don't have to worry about the wildlife law when trimming back your Escallonia, hawthorn or Leylandii garden hedge, you should spare a thought for the wildlife itself. In Ireland, where we have a low covering of native woodland, hedges are of exceptional importance in providing habitats and corridors for maintaining wildlife diversity, particularly for birds, but also for wild plants and other ecologically important organisms that provide food and shelter for birds.

Be aware that by trimming from March 1st to August 31st you may be disturbing any birds nesting within your garden hedges. For those of you that would like to benefit from flocks of birds in your garden, the next safest time for non-disturbance is early September.

So there you have it, a brief overview of the law regarding hedge cutting in Ireland.
If you have any need for clarification in relation to any aspect of this matter, contact should be made with the The National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
They have a designated sites information line at Freephone 1800 40 50 00 from 9am to 5pm. On this matter, you can also contact the relevant conservation rangers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service for your county.

Research more in your own time......... Books on tree and hedge law

Disclaimer: The Irish gardeners forum is for general information only and is not a legal advice forum.
We cannot guarantee the validity of any advice given to you.
So for all legal matters consult your local town/city council, solicitor, engineer, or relevant body/expert in that field with adequate liability insurances.
If you disregard this warning and proceed you do so entirely at your own risk.

Associated content....
There are other laws in relation to the legal requirements for tree felling, see it here.... Tree laws in Ireland.

Any queries or comments on Hedge laws in Ireland, Legal requirements for hedge cutting, please post below.

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Last edited by James Kilkelly on Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tobar
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is another query re Hedging, but related to planting one:

I planted a hedge of Pyracantha around the inside of my front garden wall between last Summer and about February of this year, in attempt to enhance the privacy & security of the garden (as the wall is quite low), & to provide a haven for wildlife in the concrete jungle that are neighbourhoods of today.

I was recently out feeding my newly planted hedging plants, when a passer-by stopped & said that if my plants grow any higher than the wall, then I may get into trouble, as they would obscure the view around the corner (through my garden) of cars wishing to turn (Í'm on a corner site - but not on a main road).

I've seen plenty of corner gardens planted with hedging like I hope to have mine, and I didn't even consider that this could be a problem, nor have I ever heard of such a thing. Can anybody help me with advice on this, as I don't want to have to cut them back when they start growing well, as they've already cost me a fortune!
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These threads are from an English forum, but have a read and see what you think..... http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5499 and http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3291
Irishgardeners is for general information only and is not a legal advice forum, so I suggest you check with your local town/city council.

Arrow It appears however that if you are not allowed to build a taller wall around your property, you are entitled to plant a high hedge.

Arrow The high hedge will not be a problem until a neighbor contacts the town/city council or estate maintenance company.
Or until someone is injured or worse killed due to poor visibility brought about by the high hedge.

Arrow If it is found to be a hazard, I presume a order can be made for you to remove the hedge.

Let us knowhow you get on Tobar.
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medieval knievel
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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 10:30 am    Post subject: Re: Hedge laws in Ireland, Legal requirements for hedge cutt Reply with quote

James Kilkelly, was GPI. wrote:

The word to look out for in that piece is uncultivated, as these restrictions do not apply to hedgerows on cultivated land such as garden hedges. So the lady had nothing to worry about from the law, she was well within her rights to cut back her hedge as and when she pleased.

i'm not sure that's the right reading - the section mentioning uncultivated land specifies any vegetation; section b relates to hedgerows and does not have a get out clause implying that it's allowed on cultivated land. it flat out bans it. it'd be much clearer without the first section.

i could be reading it wrong, but the way i'd read it is 'you're not allowed cut any vegetation on uncultivated land, plus you're not allowed cut any vegetation in hedgerows'.
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Section (a) any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated


All those any's.
This is a pretty large loophole to leave if what you say is the case medieval knievel.

I believe section (b) was put there as may hedgerows are boundary shared ownership.

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treefan
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My neighbour has decimated a mature hedgerow in early March which borders my land.

He hasnt destroyed it; just cut everything right down including loads of young trees which Im mad about.

Isnt this illegal to do this in early March? And why cant some farmers distinguish between fast growing briars etc and not young broadleaves that take a long time to grow???? Crying or Very sad Evil or Very Mad
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi treefan, I couldn't agree more with you, it breaks my heart to see the indiscriminate slashing that these mechanical hedge-cutters do....no trees have a chance of survival unless they have grown on the far side of the hedge and out of range of the blades or flails ( don't know what they're called )
The only good thing is that most of this ugly trimming seems to happen along roads, with the hedgerows between fields being left alone. I'm just wondering have farmers decided that trees on roadsides just aren't worth the risk any more...maybe it has all to do with legal liability ????
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terrydotcom
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's an old thread yet I have too agree. I also think the massive cutting is unjustified. However I can see that sometimes it is necessary to do that just because it might create a dangerous situation for children or so. I am working in a kindergarten as a volunteer and we had to cut back the hedges there to guarantee protection. But that's not massive cutting.
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