Senator Alice-Mary Higgins welcomes decision not to permit hedge-cutting in August and calls on Minister Madigan to review the Heritage Act and to protect biodiversity

Hedgerow In Connemara
Hedgerow In Connemara

The decision by the Minister not to extend hedge-cutting into August this year is an important recognition of the growing crisis in biodiversity in Ireland and worldwide.
Senator Higgins said in response to today’s announcement, “I am glad to see Minister Madigan has apparently given new consideration to the serious concerns expressed by myself and others during the extensive Seanad Debate in the Heritage Bill and has removed the threat of August cutting from the habitats which our insects, birds, bees rely on. The essential next step must be to review this flawed legislation and ensure that biodiversity is protected not just this year but every year.”

She continued, “August is a crucial time of year for bees and other pollinators which are gravely under threat. If hedge-cutting is permitted during this season, or if upland burning is extended into the March nesting season as provided for by the Bill, the impact on our natural environment could be devastating.”
Senator Higgins fought strongly against the Heritage Bill when it was initially introduced,  submitting over 50 amendments during committee and report stage in the Seanad to prevent against the erosion of environmental standards and habitat protections.

“The urgency of these issues has” she noted “ become ever clearer. We now know that three-quarters of all land on Earth is significantly impacted by human activities and 60% of all animal populations have been wiped-out since 1970. We are long past the point to act. Strengthening the protections afforded our native hedgerows and habitats is one crucial step.”

“Joined up action on both the climate crisis and the ecological crisis” will be a priority for Senator Higgins in her new role as a member of the Climate Action Committee. Speaking when she formally joined the committee last week she said, “The public, and young people in particular understand the need for ambitious action on climate change and the need for systemic change. I have been campaigning for climate justice since the UN Climate Talks 2008, on the Climate Action Committee I look forward to working closely with both colleagues and civil society to promote positive, ambitious and transformative action”.

More Stories