Farmers are being reminded to follow the Heather and Grass Burning Code to avoid damage to the environment, hefty fines and cross compliance penalties.
The burning of heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse and Vaccinium (bilberry) is only allowed between 1 October - 31 March in upland areas (land in the Severely Disadvantaged Area of the Less Favoured Area) and 1 November - 15 March elsewhere.
It is possible to carry out controlled burns at other times but only under a licence that may be obtained in very specific circumstances.
FUW Vice President Ian Rickman said: “It is really important that farmers remember that if they don’t comply with the Burning Regulations, they are breaking the law and may face a fine up to £1,000. They could also be looking at penalties under cross compliance rules.”
The Heather and Grass Burning Code asks farmers to prepare thoroughly before any burning is undertaken as well as plan and consult well in advance of the burning season.
Those planning a controlled burn need to contact the local Fire and Rescue Service, consult and co-operate with neighbours, especially woodland owners, to establish or confirm a burning programme for the year and those on common land are advised to consult fellow Commoners and the local Commoners’ Association if there is one.