Date Released: Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Restrictions on the destruction of hedges and the destruction of vegetation on uncultivated land from 1 March to 31 August 2017

Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976, as amended by Section 46 of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, restricts the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction by other means of vegetation growing on uncultivated land or in hedges or ditches during the nesting and breeding season for birds and wildlife, from 1 March to 31 August.

In Ireland, hedges are of exceptional importance as habitats, particularly for birds but also for wild flowers, shrubs and trees and provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife and enhance the diversity of nature in our countryside.

These restrictions apply not only to private land-users but also to local authorities, public bodies and to contractors.  Although there are limited exemptions to the above restrictions, e.g. where they are executed for public health and safety reasons by a statutory body, it is nevertheless this Department’s policy to prosecute where there appears to have been a breach of the law.

The assistance of the public is sought in bringing to attention any alleged unlawful cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction, by reporting details to the Gardaí or to the local Conservation Rangers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of this Department. Reported instances will, as far as practicable, be investigated.    Your local NPWS Office can be found through the NPWS website at   

The provisions of the Wildlife Acts in relation to Section 40 including the relevant exemptions may be accessed through the NPWS website at

Heritage Bill 2016 Not in Force: Please note that the provisions in the Heritage Bill 2016 which include proposals for managed hedge cutting and burning at certain times within the existing closed period on a pilot two year basis are not in force. This legislation has not been passed by the Oireachtas at this time.  Accordingly, the current restrictions under Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts which are set out above still apply