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Written Answers. - Nesting Birds Protection.

Wednesday, 12 June 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 466 No. 7

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 29. Mr. Timmins Information on Godfrey Timmins Zoom on Godfrey Timmins  asked the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Information on Michael D. Higgins Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  if his attention has been drawn to the fact that although the bird-nesting season is in full swing, a number of local authorities and individuals are busily cutting hedgerows and destroying other habitats; and the actions, if any, he will take to prevent these activities until such time as the breeding season is over. [12193/96]

Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (Mr. M. Higgins): Information on Michael D. Higgins Zoom on Michael D. Higgins I refer to the reply to the Deputy's Parliamentary Question No. 27 on 8 May 1996, Official Report, vol. 465, Cols. 73/74 on this subject where the main provisions of the Wildlife Act, 1976, in relation to the protection of nesting birds were outlined.

While local authorities are exempt from these provisions, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has issued a letter to all county councils and corporations drawing their attention to the potential damage caused to nesting birds by hedge cutting and requesting them to refrain from this activity in so far as is possible during the breeding season. Where there is evidence that [1859] such activity is being undertaken by individuals in contravention of the 1976 Act, the matter should be reported in the first instance to the Garda Síochána and-or the NPWS where it will be investigated.

I am also hopeful that the rural environment protection scheme, REPS, administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, will play an important part in contributing to the protection of these types of habitats. Measures are provided in that scheme to maintain existing features that make up farmland habitat “mosaics”, such as hedgerows, field edges, areas of scrub and unmanaged vegetation, drainage ditches, etc., which are so valuable to farmland birds.

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