Calls have been issued to extend the exemption for the controlled burning of agricultural green waste due to a lack of viable alternative methods.

The exemption for the burning of uncontaminated wood, trees, trimmings and brush generated in agricultural clearing was due to end on January 1, 2022, but this was extended by 12 months until January 1, 2023.

This was the fifth time that the derogation on burning green waste had been extended.

However, Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has said the issue around a lack of alternative methods remains, and has written to the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan requesting a further extension.

According to Deputy Nolan, all local authorities have been notified that it is now illegal to carry out controlled burning in agricultural clearings and that councils will not be accepting applications for this disposal method planned for this year.

“The main reason provided the minister when he was granting the original exemption was that no progress had been made on the feasibility of alternative options to the burning of this kind of waste, such as mulching and chipping,” she said.

“As far as I can see, and from the engagements that I have had with farmers and landowners, that situation remains the same today.

“Logically speaking then the exemption must be extended in order to provide farmers and landowners with the kind of breathing space that they need,” she added.

The deputy called on the minister “to adopt a measure of common sense” around the issue and “reintroduce the flexibility that he saw was needed” in relation to the problem last year.

“The last thing farmers and landowners need as they start 2023 is a totally avoidable regulatory headache that, apart from anything else, does not appear to be grounded in any kind of legitimate rationale with respect to carbon reduction outcomes,” she concluded.

Agriland previously reported that a draft report on an ongoing feasibility study into alternative methods to burning green waste was due to be published by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) in December 2022.

However, despite this statement, an update on the study’s progress has not yet been made available.