A crackdown on green waste incineration could spell the end of bonfires
The tradition of lighting bonfires to celebrate pagan festivals and community celebrations could fall victim to the Environment Ministry’s crackdown on the burning of agricultural green waste.
Local authorities are responsible for enforcing regulations regarding the disposal of waste by incineration. Burning waste, including garden waste, is a criminal offence.
Given the tradition of bonfires at summer/Halloween and community celebrations, many rural counties have been reluctant to prosecute offending parties on these occasions because only natural materials, such as untreated wood, are burned in bonfires.
In the past, some homeowners had used the excuse of a campfire to dump waste materials like plastic and tires, but local authorities have cracked down on the practice in recent years.
Traditionally, agricultural green waste such as fallen trees and bushes have been the main fuel source for bonfires.
However, the Environment Ministry confirmed last week that the derogation for agricultural green waste incineration will expire next year, with two final short windows allowed in 2023 – until March 1, 2023 and for a final three-month period from September 1 to 30 November 2023.
When asked whether the change would effectively make bonfires illegal, the Local Government Management Agency said that under the Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations 2009, it is a criminal offense to burn waste. Local authorities enforce these regulations.
The exemption, which applies to the incineration of agricultural waste within the specified period, is only valid as a last resort, under strict conditions and with a legal declaration to the municipality.
Meanwhile, alternatives to burning include leaving twigs and bushes in the corners of fields to let them decompose over time, a new study commissioned by the government has found.
The study, produced by the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA), also found that green waste from agriculture could be used as wood fuel, wood chips, mulch and compost.
It has also been suggested that farmers use alternative hedge management and practices, such as B. coppice and hedgerows to reduce waste.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/green-waste-burning-crackdown-could-spell-the-end-of-bonfires-42330192.html A crackdown on green waste incineration could spell the end of bonfires