The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued a strong warning to farmers and their advisors in relation to agricultural and eligible forestry land which is burnt illegally during the closed season – i.e. 1 March to 31 August.
If you burn land after the 1 March:
- You risk prosecution;
- Such land is not eligible for payment under the Basic Payment Scheme and other area-based schemes;
- Inclusion of illegally burnt land in the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme application may result in reduced payment and penalties under this scheme and the other area-based schemes, e.g. Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme;
- Illegal burning can also render the land of your neighbours ineligible for payment;
- Where it is identified that lands were burnt during the closed season this may result in such land being inspected by Department officials.
Both farmers and the wider public, whether it be at work or in enjoying the countryside, should at this time of year be mindful of the damage caused by burning, particularly given the current very dry weather.
The Department also advised that the DAFM Forest Fire Danger Rating level has been set to Condition Yellow. This level of warning signifies a need for an increased awareness of fire risks by all countryside users. This Condition will remain the minimum default status unless otherwise upgraded by DAFM. We will continue to issue updates advising of the risk and mitigation measures which can be taken. Forest owners and managers are advised to check and update fire plans and other relevant contingencies such as insurance, firebreaks, access and water points, helicopter contracts etc.