The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications has signed regulations to provide an extension which allows agricultural green waste to be burned on farms in certain limited circumstances.
The regulations were drafted in consultation with the Department of Agriculture.
The exemption had expired on 1 January 2023.
These new regulations extend the exemption for the burning of agricultural green waste until 1 March 2023.
The exemption then reopens for what the Department says is “a final three-month period from 1 September 2023 to 30 November 2023 to allow the agricultural sector deal with waste accumulated in the interim”.
Measures such as coppicing under the environmental scheme ACRES are set to create large amounts of this waste on farms.
“The decision to extend this exemption for one final time arose from the recommendations made in a recent study, commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to examine alternative measures to the burning of agricultural green waste within the Irish context and assess the practicality of such alternatives," the Department said.
"This study, which was prepared by the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA), notes that there are a number of feasible alternatives available to sustainably manage this waste material.”
The report notes that the primary concern from burning cuttings "in open field burn piles, compared to within combustion appliances for heat, is in the pollutants that are given off through combustion, which can then have negative impacts on health, air quality as well as the environment, including the production of greenhouse gases".
Both departments are working “to support the agricultural sector in making a successful orderly transition to alternative sustainable management practices”.