IFA Environment Chairman, Harold Kingston has said that the review of the legislative controls under the Wildlife Act governing the control of burning and hedge-cutting launched by the Minister for Arts Heritage & the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys is long overdue. The current rules are impractical and unnecessary and have been in need of amendment for a more flexible approach.
Harold Kingston said that the period of time for hedge-cutting should be extended as the window to carry out the necessary management of hedges and trees are impractical from both farming and a public safety point of view.
In relation to the burning of heather, IFA Hill Committee Chairman Pat Dunne said that IFA has put forward that the dates needed to be changed in line with other countries such as the UK where the burning dates are from 1st September until mid-April as opposed to Ireland where the date is between 1st September and 28th February.
Pat Dunne said burning of heather is a very good management tool for commonages and hill areas and changes must be put in place to correspond with the new rules governing commonages under the Single Farm Payment, Areas of Natural Constraint and the new GLAS scheme.