At least 130 hectares of land have been burnt in Kerry, Laois, and Wicklow, since March 1st, the beginning of the closed period.
That is, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who has “taken notes” of reports of fires for such activities.
The Department, using satellite imagery, can identify lands that have been burnt.
A DAFM spokesperson stressed that the terms and conditions for the Basic Payment Scheme and other area-based schemes makes clear that such lands are ineligible for payment.
“Where land has been burned between the March 1st and August 31st, it is not in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation and therefore is not eligible for the remainder of the year”.
The department will contact those applicants who apply on burnt lands in 2021, informing them of the consequence of the burning on their eligible area for payment.
The department confirmed that it will also shortly commence ground inspections in areas identified through satellite imagery to carry out further checks in these areas.
The Wildlife Acts controls the burning of vegetation. It is an offence under Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, 1976 (amended by Section 46 of the Wildlife Act, 2000) to burn, from March 1st to August 31st in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated.
Individuals, who are found to burn vegetation within that prohibited period, are liable to prosecution by An Garda Síochána or by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine stated that it has no role regarding prosecutions.
If you burn land after March 1st:
- There is a risk of 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 2021 Basic Payment Scheme application may result in reduced payment and penalties under this scheme and the other area-based schemes, for example, Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme;
- Illegal burning can also render the land of your neighbours ineligible for payment, and:
- Where it is identified that lands were burnt during the closed season, this may result in such land being inspected by Department officials.
You can find more information here.