Galway farmers welcome reinstated exemption from burning green waste

Galway farmers welcome the government’s decision to reinstate the exemption of farmers from burning green waste.

The minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue has announced on Tuesday that the exemption for farmers to burn green waste will be reinstated.

 According to the Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations, 2009, the burning of any kind of waste is an illegal practice in Ireland.

But the farmers were given a temporary exemption which allowed them to burn untreated/uncontaminated green waste generated from farming practices. The exemption lapsed on 1 January, 2022, raising concerns among the farming groups.

Rosemary McDonagh, a cattle farmer in Headford expressed relief and said: “We don’t have other options for the disposal of green waste”.

“We have to cut trim the bushes and hedges in order to maintain safety around the roads. If we don’t burn it then it has to go into the landfills or the dumps, which are already full. If it’s left around on farms then it will be a nuisance and will be scattered here and there. There are no other options introduced in Ireland yet.”

Shredding is the only other option available for the farmers where a machine could come to the farm and dispose of the waste into the soil.

Damien Coyne, an agriculture advisor based in Tuam said: “Shredding is really expensive for the farmers. It can cost around €200 a day. Not many farmers in Ireland use the burning method, but yes it saves money for them.”

The exemption is only available between 1 September to 28 February every year. Burning any waste out of this time period is still a punishable offence.

According to the regulations, a farmer must notify a local authority as well as the Fire Service in advance of the intention to burn the green waste.

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