The Department of Agriculture has issued letters to farmers reminding them that the burning of green waste, such as hedge-cuttings, cut scrub or diseased plant material, will no longer be permitted after 30 November 2023.

The letters state that farmers who intend to burn green waste between now and 30 November should notify the relevant local authority, with farmers on designated lands having to apply to the National Parks and Wildlife Service before doing so.

The ban will come after Government announced that it would not seek another exemption for farmers from regulations which prohibit the burning of waste.

The Department letters sent to farmers this week state that moves away from burning will improve air quality, human health and enhance biodiversity.

What options do farmers have?

The alternative green waste management options outlined for farmers to burning include flailing, establishing a “nature pile” of green waste and composting.

Specific examples of waste manage options for waste generated by different means are outlined below:

  • Cut waste: firewood recovery, staking in a pile to rot and removal from the farm to be composted or use as fibre.
  • Chipped waste: used for animal bedding, composted or moved off-farm to undergo further processing.
  • Flailing: hedge material can be left to decompose in situ or collected from the field.
  • Flailing can allow for hedges to be managed and the cut material left to rot in situ, the Department has said. / Philip Doyle

    Regularly flailing hedgerows was identified by the Irish Bioenergy Association as the “best possible practice” farmers can undertake to minimise their production of green waste when managing hedges in the feasibility study which informed this week’s letters.

    Farmers were also reminded that grant aid is available for PTO-driven biomass chipping equipment under the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes (TAMS III).

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    Flailing best way to minimise green waste - report