Wicklow group ‘disappointed’ at burning season deadline

Wicklow Uplands Council has expressed its disappointment with yesterday’s announcement by the Department of Heritage, Culture and the Gaeltacht, to not extend the controlled burning season beyond Thursday, February 28.

A statement from the group has said it continues to advocate the need to permanently extend the permissive burning season to more realistic and workable dates.

The Heritage Act 2018 allows for an extension to the burning season but this is subject to ministerial approval.

The current permissible dates are from September 1 to the last day in February.

Although the final days of February were unusually warm this year, the group has said that the window of time was too narrow, resulting in condensed burning activities in the few short days before the deadline.

The statement explained that data supports the conclusion that the month of March offers much more favourable conditions, which is reflected in Northern Ireland’s use of April 15 as the final day to its season.

Wicklow Uplands Council continues to promote the use of controlled burning within a realistic season as an effective land management tool. Farmers are within their rights to carry out burning activities within the permissive season.

The group highlighted the SUAS pilot project, which they claim seeks to address many of the challenges faced by upland farmers, carried out a number of successful well managed controlled burns.

The group claims there is a lack of awareness of controlled burning practice and of the opportunity that it presents to support upland biodiversity and to avoid the devastation of wildfires during the drier summer months.