A draft report on alternative methods to burning agricultural green waste is expected to be delivered in early December.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) told Agriland that a draft version of an ongoing feasibility study into alternative disposal practices can be expected next month.

“Earlier this year the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) commissioned a feasibility study to explore the sustainable management of green waste in Ireland.

“A team from this department and from the DAFM has been monitoring progress on the study, a draft of which is expected to be delivered in early December,” it said.

The study was commissioned as it emerged that an existing derogation on the burning of green waste, which has been extended five times, will likely not be granted again.

This would mean that farmers would be banned from burning scrub, bushes, tree trimmings and other green waste from January 1, 2023.

A range of environmentally sustainable practices, which are carried out in regions comparable to Ireland, will be considered in the study and a public consultation will also be included.

Despite the investigation into practical alternatives, a group of rural TDs have stated that the “fanatical ban on burning bushes is another swipe at rural communities”.

Leader of the Rural Independent Group Deputy Mattie McGrath said that a failure to extend the derogation would leave farmers incapable of managing overgrowth and burning green waste between the months of September and February.

“Banning this practical farming practice is ludicrous and shows how utterly disconnected this government is from farming practicability,” he said.

“Not extending the derogation, which has been provided every year since 2009, indicates how extreme green activists are controlling government policy.

“It also highlights the weakness of the agriculture minister Charlie McConalogue to advocate for farmers on such issues,” he said.

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Leader of the Rural Independent Group Deputy Mattie McGrath

The Tipperary TD added that the burning of green waste is “a vital management tool for farmers”, but if the derogation is not extended, any farmer who burns bushes or trees on their land in the new year could face heavy fines and sanctions.

He concluded by calling on Minister McConalogue to speak to Minister of Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, and urge him to extend the derogation for 2023.