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Minister Creed Repeats Strong Warning against any Illegal Burning of land

The Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. has repeated a strong warning to farmers that they must not burn land at this time of year and doing so may have serious consequences for farm payments.

The Minister stressed, “Although most on-farm visits are currently suspended due to the COVID19 crisis, my Department is continuing to carefully monitor satellite imagery in order to identify any parcels of land that are burnt illegally. Follow-up ground inspections will take place where necessary. It would be an act of gross disregard for your community if you set illegal fires that could stretch the resources of our emergency services when they are already prioritising care for the vulnerable in our society at this particular time.”

As well as endangering lives and property and doing untold damage to the environment, illegal burning of your land will put your own payments at risk and can also adversely affect your neighbour’s payments at this time of crisis:

If you burn land between the 1st March and 31st  August you risk prosecution, fines and potential imprisonment

  • Burnt land is not eligible for payment under the Basic Payment Scheme and other area-based schemes;
  • Inclusion of illegally burnt land in the 2020 Basic Payment Scheme application may result in reduced payment and penalties under this scheme and the other area-based schemes, e.g. Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme;
  • Illegal burning can also render the land of your neighbours ineligible for payment;
  • Where it is identified that lands were burned during the closed season this may result in on-farm inspection of such land in due course.

The Minister stated, “This is an unprecedented time in Ireland and I know that we can depend on the farming community to once again come to the assistance of the whole country in maintaining food supply. This makes it all the more important that a small number do not act in a reckless and thoughtless way by illegally burning  land”.

Note for Editors:

The burning of vegetation is controlled by the Wildlife Acts. It is an offence under Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, 1976 (amended by Section 46 of the Wildlife Act, 2000) to burn, from 01 March to 31 August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated. Individuals who are found to burn vegetation within that prohibited period are liable to prosecution by An Garda Síochána or by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). 

Applicants under the Basic Payment Scheme and other area-based schemes are obliged to comply with Cross Compliance which includes requirements in relation to the burning of vegetation and the consequential damage to designated land. Where an applicant is found, at inspection or on receipt of a Cross Report from NPWS, to have been responsible for breaching these requirements a penalty can be applied to payments due under these schemes.

Land found to have been burned during the specified closed season for burning is considered automatically ineligible under the various support schemes

Fire warnings and other advice can be accessed at: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/forestservice/firemanagement/  and https://www.teagasc.ie/crops/forestry/forest-fire-risk/

 

ENDS

Date Released: 03 April 2020