According to Independent councillor Danny Healy-Rae, none of Kerry’s feathered friends would be “foolish enough” to build nests near a busy roadway.
“To think that any bird would be foolish enough to build her nest where she’d be blown to pieces and the feathers blown off her and she to be left standing naked in the middle of the road never made sense to me,” he thundered at a Kerry County Council meeting yesterday, where criticism was voiced over hedge-cutting and burning restrictions, under Wildlife Acts.
“Birds have brains as well and they will build where it is safe to reproduce and to feel safe.”
Councillors warned that cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists were also at risk, with hedges allowed grow out of control through spring and summer. Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2012 is under review. Heather Humphreys, the heritage minister, is seeking the views of Kerry County Council as hedge-cutting is a regular feature during debates.
Current restrictions designed to protect and encourage nesting birds means roadside hedges cannot be cut between March 1 and August 31.
Ms Humphreys said she wanted to ensure the “ongoing effectiveness of the controls”. Submissions are invited from the public by January 9.
A briefing paper said hedges, due to lack of woodland, were “extremely important” for wildlife.
Independent councillor Brendan Cronin said: “There are 1.1m acres in Kerry, including mountains and farmland. In my view there is huge room for biodiversity. The problem arises on the public road — the current restrictions are way too tight.”