Written answers

Thursday, 27 June 2024

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Waste Management

Photo of Cathal CroweCathal Crowe (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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85. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if farmers are allowed to burn bushes this year, as per the Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27296/24]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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The Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations 2009 make it an offence to dispose of waste by uncontrolled burning. Article 5 of the Regulations provided an exemption for the disposal of uncontaminated wood, trees, tree trimmings, leaves, brush, or other similar waste generated by agricultural practices by burning. Such burning was only to be done as a final measure following the application of the waste hierarchy. Article 6 of the Regulations provided a five-year sunset clause for this exemption, however it has since been extended through amending Regulations on several occasions.

Following the granting of a further one-year exemption in early 2022, my Department engaged with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) in an attempt to regularise the situation. As a result, DAFM engaged the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) to carry out a feasibility study to explore options for the sustainable management of agricultural green waste in Ireland. This study was submitted to DAFM in November 2022 and is available on the gov.ie website at the following link -

In light of the conclusions and recommendations set out in the feasibility study, particularly relating to the fact that many farmers were mid-cycle in their burning process, it was decided that the exemption would be extended for a final time for a further two-month period until 1 March 2023 and again for a further three-month period from 1 September 2023 to 30 November 2023. DAFM distributed official guidance to both the farming sector and local authorities on sustainable alternatives to such burning in September 2023. It has been well flagged with the sector that this was the final extension to an exemption that was originally intended to expire in 2015.


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