The Heritage Bill

Heritage Bill?

The Heritage Bill, due before the Seanad this week (21st February 2017 ) seems to have nothing at all to do with Heritage other than to extend the period landowners or County Councils can burn, cut,  grub or otherwise erase the natural bit from the landscape. That natural bit is the bit our bees rely on.

This the part of the bill that will most affect us:

“…permit to the burning of vegetation in March, during such period or periods and in such areas of the State as the Minister may specify. Section 8 also provides for the amendment of section 40 to allow landowners or their agents to cut, grub or destroy vegetation in any hedge or ditch during August, subject to such Regulations as the Minister may make….”

I don’t need to tell you that the gorse (aka furze) is in bloom in March and our bees are all over it gathering vital early spring forage. If it is grubbed out and burnt at all, but especially in March, our bees, wild bees and other insects will all be deprived of a valuable early spring pollen source.

Gorse in full bloom
Gorse in full bloom

As for cutting, grubbing and burning in August – well I  also don’t need to tell you that – although our honey crop may be in, our bees are busily working all the other flowers in the hedgerows for as long as the weather allows in their build up for winter. Blackberry, for one, can flower well into October.

Let’s not forget that the heather will bloom all the way through August and into September. Heather is defined as scrub too.

Ling heather (Calluna vulgaris) honey
Heather in August

Hedgecutting usually means  decapitating mature hawthorn trees so there will be no flowers for the bees on such victims for several years.

Then there’s other important bee trees – willow and hazel – otherwise known as scrub. We need all of this stuff!

Let’s not forget the ivy either!

This bill is due before the Seanad this week – 21st February 2017 -and beekeepers need to make their feelings known to their TDs, Senators and MEPs before it is all too late:

All TDs

Fine Gael

Fianna Fail

Sinn Fein

Independent Alliance

Labour

Greens

Senators

MEPs

Detail

Here’s the section or the ‘Heritage’ Bill that will have most effect on bees, birds and other wildlife – vertebrate and invertebrate:

Part 3
Wildlife

Section 7 sets out definitions relating to the wildlife primary legislation.

Section 8 provides for amendments to section 40 of the Wildlife Acts. The new provisions under section 8 give the Minister power by Regulations to permit to the burning of vegetation in March, during such period or periods and in such areas of the State as the Minister may specify. Section 8 also provides for the amendment of section 40 to allow landowners or their agents to cut, grub or destroy vegetation in any hedge or ditch during August, subject to such Regulations as the Minister may make.

Section 9 relates to updating references to Inland Fisheries Ireland and to current fisheries legislation.

Section 10 provides for clarification of the powers of authorised officers of the Department and An Garda Síochána under the Wildlife Acts.

Section 11 provides for the updating of penalties for offences under the Wildlife Acts and the introduction of fixed payment notices for certain offences.

 

2 thoughts on “Heritage Bill?”

  1. Excellent post. I have just heard Mr. Ring on the RTE radio 1 promoting this bill and I have written him an email trying to explain why it would be so detrimental for all our pollinators and much of our native biodiversity.

    1. Thank you Karina and good work.
      We also had a very successful demonstration today outside the Dail.
      I’ll put some pictures up later.

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