Wildlife Act 1976

Destruction of vegetation on uncultivated land restricted.

40

F113 [ 40. (1) ( a ) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 1st day of March and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated.

( b ) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch during the period mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection. ]

(2) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply in relation to—

( a) the destroying, in the ordinary course of agriculture or forestry, of any vegetation growing on or in any hedge or ditch;

( b) the cutting or grubbing of isolated bushes or clumps of gorse, furze or whin or the mowing of isolated growths of fern in the ordinary course of agriculture;

F114 [ ( c ) the cutting, grubbing or destroying of vegetation in the course of any works being duly carried out for reasons of public health or safety by a Minister of the Government or a body established or regulated by or under a statute;

( cc ) the clearance of vegetation in the course of fisheries development works carried out by the F115 [ Inland Fisheries Ireland ] or a regional fisheries board in the exercise of its functions under the F115 [ Inland Fisheries Acts 1959 to 2010 ] ; ]

( d) the destroying of any noxious weed to which the Noxious Weeds Act, 1936, applies;

F116 [ ( e ) the clearance of vegetation in the course of road or other construction works or in the development or preparation of sites on which any building or other structure is intended to be provided; ]

( f) the removal or destruction of vegetation required by a notice served by the Minister under section 62 (1) of the Act of 1946 to be removed or destroyed;

F117 [ (g) the felling, cutting, lopping, trimming or removal of a tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation pursuant to section 70 of the Roads Act 1993 ; ]

but this subsection shall not operate to exclude from subsection (1) of this section anything done by burning.

F118 [ (3) The Minister may request from the person concerned details of any works carried out under subsection (2)(c) and such details shall be furnished to the Minister by that person together with a statement of the public health or safety factors involved.

(4) In any proceedings taken in respect of a contravention of this section consisting of the doing of any act, it shall be a good defence to prove that the doing of that act was necessary for the purpose of extinguishing or preventing the spread of a fire while it was in progress or for the purpose of saving human life or was necessary in any other emergency in respect of which that act was an appropriate measure. ]

Annotations

Amendments:

F113

Substituted (12.03.2001) by Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 (38/2000), s. 46(a), S.I. No. 71 of 2001.

F114

Substituted and inserted (12.03.2001) by Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 (38/2000), s. 46(b), S.I. No. 71 of 2001.

F115

Substituted (1.07.2010) by Inland Fisheries Act 2010 (10/2010), s. 8 and sch. 2 part 2 item 1, commenced as per s. 5(2) and S.I. No. 262 of 2010.

F116

Substituted (12.03.2001) by Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 (38/2000), s. 46(c), S.I. No. 71 of 2001.

F117

Inserted (18.07.2018) by Heritage Act 2018 (15/2018), s. 8, commenced on enactment.

F118

Inserted (12.03.2001) by Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 (38/2000), s. 46(d), S.I. No. 71 of 2001.

Modifications (not altering text):

C17

Application of section restricted (18.07.2018 to 18.07.2020 or longer if continued in force) by Heritage Act 2018 (15/2018), s. 7(1), (2), commenced on enactment.

Destruction or burning of vegetation on uncultivated land

7. (1) Notwithstanding section 40 (as amended by the Inland Fisheries Act 2010 ) of the Act of 1976, the Minister may make regulations, in relation to land referred to in that section, to allow the burning of vegetation during such period or periods during the month of March of such year in such part or parts of the State as specified in the regulations, subject to such conditions or restrictions specified in the regulations to ensure the protection of fauna or flora.

(2) Notwithstanding section 40 of the Act of 1976, the Minister may make regulations, in relation to land referred to in that section, to allow the cutting of vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch on the roadside during the month of August of such year as is specified in the regulations, subject to such conditions or restrictions specified in the regulations in relation to hedgerow husbandry, management or maintenance to ensure the protection of fauna or flora.

(3) A person to whom regulations under this section apply, or acting on behalf of such person, who does anything in contravention of the regulations commits an offence.

(4) (a) Subject to paragraph (b), this section remains in force until the expiration of 2 years from the date of the passing of this Act and then shall expire.

(b) This section may be continued in force from time to time by a resolution of each House of the Oireachtas, passed before its expiry, for such further period not to exceed 3 years as is specified in the resolution.

(5) In this section “fauna or flora” means fauna and flora protected under Chapter III of Part II of the Act of 1976.

C18

Application of section restricted by European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 477 of 2011), reg. 49(13), as inserted (21.07.2015) by European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (S.I. No. 355 of 2015), art. 12, in effect as per reg. 1(4).

Prohibition on introduction and dispersal of certain species

49. ...

[(13) Where the Minister considers—

( a) that a species of flora or type of vegetation poses a threat to any of the objectives of the Birds and Habitats Directives, or

( b) that a population of a species of flora hosts or is likely to host a pathogen, disease, pest or parasite that poses or is likely to pose a threat to that species or to other species of flora and hence to securing compliance with the requirements of the Birds and Habitats Directives, and that the destruction of that population is a practical, appropriate and proportionate measure to reduce that threat,

the Minister may, notwithstanding anything contained in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 , grant a licence for the destruction, by such means as the Minister may specify, of vegetation comprising or containing that species at any time including, where he or she considers it warranted, during the period from 1 March to 31 August. ]

C19

Application of section restricted (21.09.2011) by European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 477 of 2011), reg. 39(8), in effect as per reg. 1(3).

Threat response plans

39. ...

(8) Notwithstanding Section 40 of the Principal Act, the Minister may, as part of a threat response plan, authorise the destruction of vegetation on uncultivated land at any time and Section 40(1) of that Act shall not apply in relation to any destruction of vegetation on uncultivated land so authorised.

...

Editorial Notes:

E197

Previous affecting provision: application of section restricted (18.06.2010) by European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) (Control of Recreational Activities) Regulations 2010 (S.I. No. 293 of 2010), reg. 13(7), in effect as per reg. 1(3); revoked (21.09.2011) by European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 477 of 2011, reg. 73(2), in effect as per reg. 1(3).