Fine Gael TD for Kildare South, and Chair of the Fine Gael Internal Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Martin Heydon, has said that Kildare farmers will benefit from a relaxation of rules to allow flexibility for hedge cutting and burning.

“Farmers across Kildare are going to see increased flexibility in the rules on hedge cutting and burning, which will no doubt be welcome.

“I commend Minister Heather Humphreys for her plans to introduce legislation to allow for managed hedge cutting and burning at certain times within the existing closed period on a pilot basis. The Minister has taken her decision following a review of Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts, which sets out the controls on burning and cutting of vegetation.

“Under the new pilot measures, managed hedge cutting will be allowed, under strict criteria, during August to help ensure issues such as overgrown hedges impacting on roads can be tackled.

“This pilot will last for two years, and will allow for a more managed approach to the vegetation management issues which regularly arise, as I know from talking to farmers in Kildare about hedge cutting and burning.

“Power will also be given to the Minister to allow for controlled burning in certain areas around the country, to be specified by the Minister, during March, should it be necessary. This could be needed for example, as a result of adverse weather conditions.

“Our approach to this matter has got to balance environmental requirements with the needs of farmers and ensure a compromise that works for all. This hasn’t always been the case in the past and these new measures should see a welcome change in the approach.”