04 Oct 2022

Offaly County Council apologises for removing hedgerow near Geashill

Offaly County Council apologises for removing hedgerow near Geashill

The section of roadside near Geashill after the hedge and trees were removed by the Council.

Offaly County Council has apologised for removing a hedgerow near Geashill.

Cllr Mark Hackett raised the removal of the hedgerow during the March meeting of the Council and received a follow-up call from the Director of Services with responsibility for this area. The Director told the councillor that the removal of the hedgerow was, while compliant with legislation, poor practice.

During the March meeting Cllr Hackett pointed out that he got quite a few calls from members of the public distressed by the sight of the destruction. "Why was this work done?" he asked. "Was it for road widening? Whatever the reason, it shouldn't have happened because it's not supposed to happen during the bird nesting season when countless birds including blackbirds, wrens, thrushes use these vital natural corridors for nesting. I thought this kind of thing was behind us in our society."

The section of road is two miles from Geashill on the road to Tullamore. A long section, of many metres, of hedge and trees was removed by the Council workers.

"If this work had to be done," continued Cllr Hackett, "then it should have been done outside the bird nesting season."

According to Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts it is an offence to destroy vegetation on uncultivated land during the bird nesting season, which runs from March 1 to August 31 each year.

“Fair play to the Council,” commented the councillor, speaking after his follow-up conversation with the Director. “They could have used the fact that removal of hedgerows for road safety is allowed at any time of the year, but instead they held their hands up and said this shouldn't have happened.

“I understand that it was an error due to the unavailability of a contractor in January and the postponement of road improvement works. The Council acknowledged that the work, if not started before the nesting season should have been postponed until the end of it. I take this as a positive sign that biodiversity is a major consideration of the Council. Mistakes happen but with each mistake comes learning. I received an assurance that something like this wouldn't happen again and I am happy with that.”

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