The exemption for agricultural green waste burning ended on the 30th November 2023.
The Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations 2009 makes it an offence to dispose of waste by burning. An initial five-year exemption was provided for the permissible disposal of waste by burning where it was done as a final measure after the preferred alternatives had been assessed, the local authority was notified and the material to be burned consisted only of uncontaminated wood, trees, tree trimmings, leaves, brush, or other similar waste generated by agricultural practices. This exemption has been extended on several occasions. In early 2023, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications announced that the practice of burning agricultural green waste was to end on the 30th of November 2023.
Why has the burning of green waste ended?
To improve the sustainable management of agricultural green waste which will:
- Improve air quality and human health
- Better utilise material for sustainable alternative uses
- Enhance and promote biodiversity
What are the sustainable practices to replace burning?
In November 2022, the Irish Bioenergy Association on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine developed a feasibility study on the sustainable management of agricultural green waste in Ireland. This report outlines many sustainable alternatives to burning which farmers are permitted to use, including:
- Use of flailing and return the cut material to the ground in-situ
- Establish a nature pile/biodiversity habitat corner allowing the material to decompose over time
- Produce sustainable wood fuel for own heating use on-farm
- Composting of the material on-farm
- Off-farm energy generation from high quality, large volume, uncontaminated material
- Use of the material for animal bedding
- Produce landscaping material
- Biochar production
Further information can be found here: 31230-Agricultural Green Waste Leaflet