A group of stakeholders including the Irish Wildlife Trust, the Federation of Irish Beekeepers, and Hedgerows Ireland have called on the State to move immediately to protect the country's hedgerows, of which upwards of 3,000km are removed every year.

Representatives for Hedgerows Ireland – an NGO formed to protect against hedgerow removals – have said such removals could "change the Irish landscape beyond recognition".

Ireland’s hedgerows host a rich ecosystem, within which around two thirds of native birds nest or feed.

Speaking to RTÉ's News at One, Alan Moore said: "So many of our supporters bring us really sad stories of how their local landscape is changing before their very eyes.

"Our network of hedgerows is the envy of much of the world is being steadily and gradually nibbled away at."

He said that the vital role that hedgerows play in the Irish landscape is increasingly being recognised.

Mr Moore said that the protest movement to conserve hedgerows was prompted by the ongoing removal of 3,000km hedgerows annually, which he described as "an enormous figure".

He said that the organisation is recognising a pattern where large investment companies are buying up large tracts of land and pursuing a "short-term unsustainable form of agriculture, facilitated by the current rules around hedge removal".

Up to half a kilometre of hedgerow can be removed without environmental assessment or scrutiny.

In cases above half a kilometre, there needs to be permission.

Mr Moore said that 95% of applications for hedgerow removal are approved, which he described as a "very worrying pattern".

He said that hedgerows are "a fantastic asset", adding that hedgerows provide "massive carbon storage," as well as being a "huge pollinator and wildlife reservoir".