Burning of Agricultural Waste

Under the Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations 2009 as amended, an exemption is provided that allows farmers to dispose of green agricultural waste by burning. These wastes must solely consist of untreated/uncontaminated wood, trees, tree trimmings, leaves and brush which were generated by agricultural practices.

Control Burning Notification.pdf (size 172.4 KB)

This exemption does not extend to garden and park wastes, cemetery wastes and wastes arising from infrastructural development works.

Burning of such wastes arising from agricultural activities may only be undertaken as a final measure after application of the following waste hierarchy:

1.       Wastes generated are reduced in accordance with best agricultural practice

2.       Waste is reused where practicable

3.       Waste is recycled through shredding and used as compost or wood chippings, where practicable

4.       Waste is salvaged for use as fuel where practicable

Farmers wishing to dispose of such wastes are obligated to inform Leitrim County Councils Environment Department by completing and submitting the Statutory Declaration Burn Notice72 hours in advance of the proposed burning of such waste. A copy of the Statutory Notice Form can be downloaded from the Leitrim County Council website. As much information as possible should be given on the application form including an Eircode and or accurate maps, (scale 1:50,000). Burning cannot take place without prior approval from Leitrim County Council.


Holders of such waste, who dispose of the waste by burning without completing and submitting the Statutory Notice form are in breach of the Regulations.

Precautions to Consider

Burning of agricultural waste as described above, is prohibited during high fire risk periods.

The Regulations place an onus on the person carrying out the disposal to take all reasonable measures to limit any nuisance or possibilities for endangering human health or causing environmental pollution or damage to adjoining hedgerows or habitats. Any uncontrolled burning of waste that causes, or is likely to cause, pollution is now explicitly in breach of both the Air Pollution Act 1987, and the Waste Management Act 1996, as amended and Leitrim County Council will initiate legal action against offenders.


Be aware of the Law

Several legal constraints apply to controlled burning and individuals planning to burn must be aware of these to avoid the risk of prosecution and/or penalties under the Department’s Support Payments for Farmers (e.g. Single Payment, Disadvantaged Areas).

Individuals found engaged in illegal burning activity may be subject to heavy penalties. Specific legal measures that affect the use of fire for land management are contained within the following relevant legislation:

Wildlife Act, 1976

Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000

Birds and Habitats Directive

Air Pollution Act, 1987

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 and Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 2007

Forestry Act, 1946

Waste Management Act, 1996

Waste Management Act, 2008 SI No. 286 of 2009 – Waste Management Regulations

Fire Services Act, 1981

Fire Services Act, 2003

Criminal Damages Act, 1991

In addition to penalties arising from breaches of the above legislation, Local Authorities may impose a charge on the owners of property, or the beneficial occupiers of the property, in relation to fire service costs, where Fire and Rescue Services have to be called to deal with a fire.

Landowners in receipt of Support Payments for Farmers (e.g. Single Payment, Disadvantaged Areas) should be aware that illegal or irresponsible burning activity may constitute a breach of the Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC) terms of these schemes and penalties may be imposed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

In relation to the Wildlife Act, 1976 as amended by the Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000, landowners should be aware that under Section 40(2) it is lawful to cut or grub isolated bushes or clumps of gorse, or to mow or cut isolated growths of bracken in the ordinary course of agriculture or forestry. Further to the above, it is important to note that it is illegal to burn any growing vegetation between the 1st March and 31st August each year. Only where vegetation has been cut prior to the 1st March, is it legal to burn this after March 1st. It must be noted that any cut vegetation may still provide a nesting site for birds and before burning, landowners should check any such vegetation to ensure there are no nests present.

  • EU Sturctural Fund
  • European Union