Burning of Agricultural Vegetation Permission

Farmers must apply to the local authority for permission to burn green waste generated by agricultural activities.

EXEMPTION:  Temporary Exemption for Agricultural Activities: There is a temporary exemption in place, extended until the 1st of March 2023, and for a further three month period from 1st September to 30th November 2023.  This allows farmers to dispose by burning of untreated uncontaminated wood, trees, trimmings, leaves, bushes or similar materials generated by agricultural practices under the Waste Management Regulations 2009 (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations, 2009 and waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) (Amendment) Regulations 2023.   

This exemption only applies to agricultural activities.

Statutory Notice to Burn Agricultural Waste

The farmer (holder of the agricultural waste) is required to notify Fire Control and submit a completed Statutory Declaration in advance of the proposed burning of such waste to:

Environment Department, Carlow County Council, Assembly Rooms, Cox’s Lane, Carlow or environment@carlowcoco.ie

The exemption for farmers only applies until the 1st of March 2023, and for a further three month period from the 1st September to the 30th November 2023, after which time all burning will be prohibited. The holder of the agricultural waste is required to notify the local authority by signing a Statutory Notice/Declaration in advance of the proposed burning of such waste. Strict conditions apply when using burning as a means of disposal of green waste (generated by agricultural practices) such as limiting nuisance and protection of human health and not causing environmental pollution. Burning of permissible green wastes arising from agricultural activities may only be undertaken as a final measure following the application of the following waste hierarchy:

  1. Green Waste is reduced in accordance with best agricultural practice.
  2. Green Waste is reused where practicable.
  3. Green Waste is recycled through shredding and used as compost or wood chippings.
  4. Green Waste is salvaged for use as fuel where practicable (e.g. Tree limbs etc).

Further to the above, it is important that farmers note that it is illegal to burn any living vegetation between 1st March and 31st August each year pursuant to the Wildlife Act, 1976, as amended, due to the bird nesting season. In addition to the strict terms of the agricultural exemption, farmers are also reminded to adhere to the precautions that follow when disposing of gorse, scrub and other such agricultural green waste through burning.

Precautions for Farmers when burning exempt agricultural waste:

  • Before carrying out any burning, landowners are advised to contact The Environment Section on 059- 9136231 and The Fire Brigade Control Centre on 0818-300112. The location, time and duration should be given.
  • Burning of living vegetation is prohibited between 1st March and 31st August each year pursuant to the Wildlife Act, 1976, as amended. • The Wildlife Act, 1976, as amended., and the Forestry Act, 1946, also require that farmers, who are burning within one mile of a woodland or Nature Reserve, inform the Gardaí and woodland owner at least one week in advance.
  • Where burning is to take place within a Special Area of Conservation or Natural Heritage Area, written consent must be sought in advance from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
  • Burning should be started early in the day.
  • A fire break of at least 16 metres should be made at the outside of the area to be burned.
  • Inform your neighbours to avoid alarm and potential complaints.
  • Check the weather forecast and do not burn in exceptionally dry conditions where strengthening or variable winds are likely.
  • Burn against the direction in which the wind is blowing.
  • Do not attempt to carry out the operation alone. Enlist sufficient help to ensure that the burning is carried out efficiently, effectively and safely.
  • If possible have a mobile water tanker (e.g. slurry tanker) or crop sprayer with a hose attachment.
  • No burning should be carried out at night.
  • If the fire gets out of control and threatens buildings or woodlands, call the Fire Brigade immediately by dialling 999 or 112 and meet the Fire Brigade to show them the best route to the fire.
  • Keep children away from the burning activity.
  • Before leaving the area, make sure that the fire is completely out. Return later to check, confirm to Fire Brigade Control, 0818-300112, that the controlled burning has been completed.
  • It is an offence to start fires within 16 metres of a public road.
  • Any farmer intending to burn agricultural waste should adhere to the fire safety checklist below.

Fire Safety Checklist

  1. Is the fire absolutely necessary?
  2. Do I have the ability to stop the fire if the need arises?
  3. The fire should be located not less than 1 mile from any woodland or forest.
  4. Am I certain that my property and my neighbour's property will be safe?
  5. Am I sure that smoke from the fire will not cause a nuisance to others, and especially neighbours?
  6. Have I alerted my neighbours and the relevant authorities of my intention to burn?
  7. Have I sufficient help and equipment on standby to control the planned fire?
  8. Have I adequate means of communication and the necessary contact details should an emergency arise?


Further information If burning waste creates environmental damage, nuisance or gives rise to pollution, the advice is: do not burn. If in doubt, request advice from the Environment Department on 059-9136231.

Any queries in relation to the enforcement of the Wildlife Act, 1976, as amended, should be directed to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, on: LoCall 1890 383 000 or website http://www.npws.ie