Temporary agricultural exemption
There is an exemption under the Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations, 2009 and Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 that allows farmers to dispose by burning untreated/uncontaminated wood, trees, trimmings, leaves, bushes or similar materials generated by agricultural practices.
This exemption does not apply unless the waste is generated by agricultural practices so it does not apply to green waste originating from a domestic or commercial setting.
Burning of such wastes arising from agricultural activities may only be undertaken as a final measure following the application of the following waste hierarchy:
Waste arising is reduced in accordance with best agricultural practice.
Waste is reused where practicable.
Waste is recycled through shredding and used as compost or wood chippings.
Waste is salvaged for use as fuel where practicable.
After the 1st January 2016, farmers wishing to dispose of such wastes will have to apply to the local authority and sign a statutory notice in advance of the proposed burning of such waste. Until this date however, a farmer may choose to burn such wastes, once they adhere to the waste hierarchy as detailed above.
Further to the above measures, it is important that farmers note that it is illegal to burn any vegetation between 1st March and 31st August each year pursuant to the Wildlife Act, 1976, as amended, as this is the bird nesting season.
In addition to the strict terms of the agricultural exemption, farmers are also reminded to adhere to the precautions that follow when disposing of gorse, scrub and other such agricultural green waste through burning.
If burning waste creates environmental damage, nuisance or gives rise to pollution, the advice is: do not burn. If in doubt, contact the Environment Section, Clare County Council on (065) 6846331.
Any queries in relation to the enforcement of the Wildlife Act, 1976, as amended, should be directed to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Ennis on (065) 6822711.
The guidelines set out in the Farmer’s Handbook for Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) 3 (Department of Agriculture and Food) is also a useful reference.