Hedge cutting season is over – sign the petition to help save Ireland’s nesting birds.

Hedge cutting is illegal in Ireland from 1st of March till 31st of August. Despite attempts by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., to change the laws regulating these dates by introducing the Heritage Bill 2016 earlier this year, it is important to note that the proposed date changes were ultimately NOT made. This is because the bill failed to pass through both houses of the Oireachtas before the recent dissolution of the Dáil in advance of the general election.

Hedge cutting is illegal from 1March - 31st Aug Photo credit: journal.ie

Hedge cutting is illegal from 1March – 31st Aug                                Photo credit: farmersjournal.ie

Hedgerows are essential for maintaining wildlife diversity, supporting species such as badgers, owls, hedgehogs, stoats, blackbirds and innumerable plants, butterflies and other insects. Not only are they an invaluable resource for much of our wildlife they are vital in providing pollinators, cleaning our air, defining our landscape, storing carbon and by holding back the flow of water off land they can alleviate flooding.

The period within which cutting and burning is prohibited are set down in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended in 2000), which states that:

(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 (above).

The existing law provides exemptions for road safety and other circumstances and should be read carefully to ensure compliance.

Section 40 of the Wildlife Act exists to protect nesting birds. Many of our upland bird species are in decline and are in danger of extinction in Ireland; amongst them is the Curlew, which has declined by 80%. Many birds which nest in hedgerows into August including the endangered Yellowhammer, Linnet and Greenfinch are also in serious decline.

Nesting season has started

If you see any unlawful hedge cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction please report details to the Gardaí or to the local Conservation Rangers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Reported instances will, as far as practicable, be investigated.   Your local NPWS Office can be found through the NPWS website at http://www.npws.ie/contact-us.

No more slash and burn.

The Irish Wildlife Trust, Birdwatch Ireland, An Taisce and Hedge Laying Association of Ireland created a campaign ‘No to more slash and burn’ to persuade Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D. to reconsider her proposal to change the Wildlife Act to allow for the burning of vegetation in March and hedge cutting in August and establish proper hedgerow and upland management regimes that works for farming, road safety and wildlife.

Join the campaign to persuade the Government to reverse this decision before the Heritage Bill 2016, is passed through the Oireachtas and sign the petition to show your support for the wildlife that do not have a voice. If we do nothing, we risk losing yet more of our natural heritage here in Ireland.

To date over 16,400 have signed the petition.

Nesting bird via Photopin. 

We’ve been shortlisted in The Blog Awards Ireland and need your help!

Our company blog has been shortlisted in The Blog Awards Ireland 2015 in two categories – Best Lifestyle Blog and Best Blog Post. We’re delighted to make it to the Company Shortlist. It is great to see our company listed along with some incredible Irish companies. The Blog Awards Ireland recognise the passion and enthusiasm that blogging and bloggers share with their readers. This year the Blog Awards Ireland have introduced a public vote that accounts for 30% of the overall vote.

The Public vote has opened and we would appreciate it if you would consider voting for Eco Evolution in one or both categories. It’s simple, just click on the images below and click on Eco Evolution and then click DONE. We are the only green energy company shortlisted and would love your help to help spread the word about the benefits of green energy and living a sustainable lifestyle.

If you would like to vote for Eco Evolution in one or both categories please click the images below. Thank you in advance 🙂 

 

Vote for Best Lifestyle Blog here                    

Click here to vote for Eco Evolution in the Best Lifestyle Blog category

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vote for Best Blog Post here

Click here to vote for Eco Evolution in the Best Blog Post category

          

 

                                      

 

 

 

                                 

Mills and Millers of Ireland Spring Event 2015 – Mills of East Waterford

The Society of Mills and Millers of Ireland was launched in 2001 to encourage and assist in the preservation and appreciation of mills as part of our industrial, architectural and landscape heritage. There are hundreds of mills and mill sites spread across the country and while many are beautifully refurbished or put to good use, there are also many others which could be restored or renovated while preserving their traditional context. The society aims to promote interest and awareness in this aspect of Ireland’s industrial heritage by building up knowledge and expertise in areas such as law, architecture, renewable energy and manufacturing and making information available through publications, lectures and events.

Mills and Millers of Ireland Spring Event 2015

Ballindud Mill Photo Credit: Ballindud Mill and Cottage

This year’s Spring event is a one day event taking place on the 18th April in the lovely countryside of County Waterford. It’s going to be a very active day with visits to several local mills, Ballindud Mill, Jim Butler’s Mill, Tom Butler’s Gorteens Mill, Strangsmills and a talk by historian John Walsh on local East Waterford Mills. . Take a look at the timetable to see the list of interesting events that have been organised.

MMOI spring event 2015

Fee for the day including refreshments and lunch: €25 per person.

To book:
(A) Download a booking form here and return to: Hon. Treasurer Mr. John Delaney, Ballingard Road, Roscommon, County Roscommon (Cheques payable to MMOI)

or
(B) Pay for the event using the PayPal secure online payment option button. Please select the number of places from the drop down menu.

 

Recently Appointed Steering Group to advise on Energy Policy Paper in Ireland

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White T.D., opened the next phase of the public consultation process as part of the development of a White Paper on Energy Policy.

Minister White announced that he will chair a Steering Group that will advise on the finalisation of the Energy Policy Paper. He confirmed that John Fitzgerald (ESRI), Brian Motherway (SEAI, and Helen Donoghue (IIEA) are pleased to participate on the Steering Group, together with three officials from the Department.

green paper

The launch event was held in Dublin and was attended by over 150 stakeholders. In welcoming the attendees, the Minister noted the timelines of the event, one day after the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York, attended by over 120 Heads of State and Government. The Minister also reviewed progress to date and set out the next steps towards the development of a definitive Energy Policy Paper for publication by September 2015. The event follows the launch of the public consultation process with the publication of the Energy Policy Green Paper in May by the Minister’s predecessor, Mr. Pat Rabbitte, TD, which has stirred an enthusiastic debate on energy policy in Ireland across a diverse range of stakeholders. The consultation resulted in over 1,200 responses being received by the July closing date. The significant response demonstrates the strong interest in choosing the optimal route for future energy policy.

Minister White said, “My Department has conducted an initial analysis of the valuable contributions made by interested parties. The key issues raised in relation to each of the areas set out in the Green Paper have been identified. This launch event today kicks off further engagement with stakeholders, as I had previously indicated in July. My officials will host several events with stakeholders on all of the priorities set out in the Green Paper, to ensure that all of the issues identified in the submissions are fully understood. We want to be sure that the assumptions on which the White Paper will be written are tested and accurate. As I said in July following the great interest shown in the development of a fit-for-purpose Energy Policy, there is an absolute necessity for the White Paper to set a balanced, robust and enabling framework for Ireland’s Energy transition. I want a dynamic and responsive evidence based framework that will allow all of us to steer the appropriate course as we seek to deal with sustainability, security and competitiveness challenges and opportunities.”

The Minister went on to say, “Energy Policy is first and foremost about people – we need to ensure a safe, sustainable, economic and cost-effective energy sector, no matter who the consumer is, be they householders, small start-up businesses, multi-nationals – or one of our younger citizens needing access to a warm comfortable room for play, study or rest. We must develop an energy policy that underpins the social recovery that is underway and that facilitates further economic development for the betterment of society as a whole. We must not lose sight of this main goal, because an energy policy developed with this main aim in mind will be sustainable in the long term.”

future energy

The consultation process now continues with further engagement at various stakeholder events between now and the end of the year. Drafting of the White Paper will follow in the first half of 2015 with a view to publication of a finalised White Paper by September. The new Energy Policy Framework will be timely in that it will be guided by Ireland’s input to the EU’s 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy policies and the preparations for the UN’s COP21 in Paris (the 21st Conference of the Parties within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in November next year.

Source: http://www.dcenr.gov.ie

Read full press release

 

Boland’s Mill on the Kings River, Kilkenny (1193 – 1990)

The five storey Boland’s Mill  is situated in one of the most attractive mill environments in Ireland, beside the beautiful Kings River in Kilkenny.

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The 5 storey Boland’s Mill

The origins of Boland’s Mill traces back to 1193, when it was owned by Augustinian monks from Cornwall. It remained the property of the Augustinians until 1540; Cromwell had ownership at one time and gave it to a man named Holohan.  By the middle of the 18th century ownership had passed to people called Phelan who milled for many years.  In 1825 Richard Hutchinson bought it and left it to his nephew, also called Richard Hutchinson, who ran the mill from 1912 to 1939 when he became ill.

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The waterwheel

Lily Hutchinson, his daughter, took over the running of the mill when her father died in 1940 and ran it successfully through the difficult war years. She married Arthur Boland in 1954 and he ran the mill until his untimely death in 1979, aged 58.  The mill was idle in the years from 1979 to 1983 when Oliver Mosse leased the building and produced Kells Wholemeal between 1983 and 1987. Bill Mosse took over the running of the mill between 1987 and 1990 when it ceased milling and has been idle since.

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One of 5 original mill stones

Boland’s Mill is one of seven mills situated along the Kings River between Kells and Thomastown. Some are still standing and others are now in ruins. Although the mill has fallen into disrepair over the years the original  gearing that was made from timber, the five mill stones, a large selection of the tools used during the milling of the grain and the original weigh bridge are all still intact.

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Original Wooden cogs

Boland's Mill on the Kings River, Kilkenny

Boland's Mill on the Kings River, Kilkenny

Original weigh bridge

The Mill worked on commission.  The farmer owned the corn which was ground at a price per Bushel.  In those days a farmer aimed to grow enough wheat to supply his family with the wholemeal for the year and enough Barley and oats to feed his cattle, horses, sheep and hens – also for the year ahead. It was an excellent system, giving security to the farmer and his household.  During the war farmers were allowed to keep 1 Bushel of wheat per member of his household per year so they were never short of wheatmeal to make bread.

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Harvest time was very busy in the mill.  All the wheat had to be dried before it was milled and if the harvest was wet most of the barley and oats also needed drying.  The grain was hauled up to be dried either in the drying lofts or in the kiln room. The grain was fed to the stones through the shoots sunk in the upper floors of the mill.  Each grain demanded a different stone dressing and for fine ground grain riddling and screening was also necessary.

If you are the owner of an old mill site or a potential hydro site or are a community group interested in developing a hydro project for community use please contact us.