The Mayo Green Party is calling for an immediate halt to what it describes as the “savage and unnecessary hedge and tree cutting” currently being undertaken by Mayo County Council along many of Mayo’s roads.
Liam Heffron, Chairman of the Mayo Green Party, said that members had expressed shock at its latest meeting about the “butchery” that they have seen along a number of roads over recent weeks.
He made particular reference to the Mulranny vicinity and on the Leenane Road, outside of Westport, where entire trees and mature hedging have been “completely slashed and left in large piles along the roadside”.
He said that this type of “aggressive and outdated hedge cutting made a mockery” of the ouncil’s sentiments to protect the natural environment and biodiversity within its new County Development Plan.
‘Slash and burn approach’
“There is simply no accounting for the slash and burn approach that the county council is taking towards hedge cutting along many of our roads at the moment,” he said.
“Entire trees and mature hedges have been reduced to stumps, devastating vital natural habitats for many birds and other essential fauna and wreaking havoc with our bio-diversity.”
“It makes no sense at all. It is an old-fashioned, and frankly, frowned upon and regressive municipal practice at this stage. Mature hedgerows like we have in Mayo should be protected and celebrated, not destroyed.”
He said the council has just published its Development Plan for 2021 to 2026 with many “welcome” commitments to protect Mayo’s natural landscape and unique bio-diversity.
“However, this latest show of reckless and senseless decimation goes totally against the aspirations within the Plan and raises serious questions about the true sentiments of our council when it comes to our environmental heritage.”
A spokesperson for Mayo County Council has responded to the statement.
“The hedge cutting season is currently open and ends on the last day of Februar. “Local authorities and private landowners are permitted to cut up to this date.
“Mayo County Council is carrying out hedge-cutting where it is needed in the interest of road safety.”
“Provisions for hedge and tree cutting fall under Section 40 of the Wildlife Act. Due to restrictions under Covid-19, there is minimal operations currently taking place.”
“It is an offence to ‘cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy hedgerows on uncultivated land during the nesting season from 1 March to 31 August, subject to certain exceptions’. Mayo County Council is committed to protect Mayo’s natural landscape and unique bio-diversity throughout all of our activities.” the spokesperson concluded.