The Department of Agriculture is set to commence ground inspections on over 130ha of land which was burned after 1 March 2021.

Satellite imagery was used to identify the land, which is located mainly in counties Kerry, Laois and Wicklow.

Farmers are reminded that the terms of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and other area-based schemes make clear that such lands are ineligible for payment.

“Where land has been burned between 1 March and 31 August, it is not in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation and therefore is not eligible for the remainder of the year,” according to the Department of Agriculture.

The Department has said it will contact those applicants who apply on burnt lands in 2021, informing them of the consequence on their eligible area for payment.

2020 penalties

Some 179 farmers had their BPS cut in 2020 due to claiming for ineligible features and burned land, among other penalties.

Some 231 land parcels and 1,705ha of land were identified as burned during the closed period.

Individuals who are found to burn vegetation within that prohibited period are liable to prosecution by An Garda Síochána or the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).