Farmers caught burning outside the legal season may face payment cuts – Department

Farmers caught burning areas of their land outside of the legal season may be ineligible for payment under Department schemes, according to the Department of Agriculture.

These schemes include the Basic Payment Scheme, GLAS and other area based schemes, it says.

The Department made the announcement following a spate of recent uncontrolled burning incidents in Cork and Kerry.

It has repeated warnings to farmers and other landowners that the burning of land remains unlawful between March 1 and August 31 under current legislation.

To identify farmers and landowners that have carried out unlawful burning, it is assessing recently affected areas using satellite based detection.

In addition, further inspections may be conducted on lands where fire incidents have been detected since March 1.

According to the Department, current fire behaviour has been describe as moderate, but there is a strong possibility of further and potentially higher fire risk conditions emerging again next month

Safety risks from uncontrolled burning

The Department also warns farmers and other land owners that there are inherent safety risks associated with uncontrolled burning.

These include the threat to neighbour’s homes, livelihoods and critical infrastructure in rural areas, and the impacts on the safety and well-being of elderly and infirm people living in areas affected by smoke.

The diversion of emergency service resources in such areas can have grave consequences in the event they are required for more life threatening emergency incidents elsewhere.

The Department calls on landowners to cooperate in fire prevention efforts and to report unattended or dangerous fires to the emergency services without delay, before they can become larger incidents that are more difficult to deal with.