21 landowners apply to cut hedges in Clare under paid hedgecutting scheme

Clare County Council has received 21 applications from landowners and contractors to cut local hedgerows under the Community Hedgecutting Grant Scheme.

The scheme was the first of its kind to be developed in Ireland when it was piloted in 2013.

A total of €10,000 is being provided by the county council to deal with hedgecutting along the local road network over winter.

To date, 13 applications have been approved and €5,501.50 has been committed from the budget to these applications. A total of €1,287.50 has been paid out to approved applicants.

Under the scheme, a grant of €50 per km of hedgerow will be paid to each approved applicant, subject to certain conditions and available resources.

Clare County Council says the scheme will provide some financial assistance to communities and groups that undertake hedgecutting and the cutting of overhanging trees, and will assist landowners in complying with their responsibilities under Section 70 of the Roads Act, 1993.

John Corry, from Clare County Council said that the scheme, complemented by the Council’s ongoing hedgecutting programme, will be of benefit in dealing effectively with this issue.

Our objective is that by the start of the nesting season in March 2017, much of the worst affected local roads in the County will be significantly enhanced in their capacity to accommodate the traffic that uses them.

“The Roads Act, 1993 stipulates that all growth emanating from any part of the roadside boundary structure or from within the land protected by same is the responsibility of the landowner,” he said.

Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts 1976, as amended, prohibits the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction of vegetation, with certain strict exemptions, from March 1 to August 31.

Meanwhile, changes to the current legislation around hedgecutting and gorse burning might not happen until after Christmas as the Heritage Bill has yet to be reintroduced to Seanad Eireann.

Speaking in the Dail earlier this year, the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affiars, Heather Humphreys, said that she hopes that the Bill would be taken before Christmas.