Upland burning 'is necessary for farming'
In the wake of last week's gorse and forest fires around the county, the Sligo Leitrim West Cavan branch of the Irish Natura Hill Farmers Association has said controlled burning was an essential part of upland management.
The Association is calling on both Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Michael Creed to finally take action to change legal burning dates within the Heritage Bill to include March. Burning is an agricultural activity in the uplands in a similar way to re seeding or topping of green land according to CAP spokesperson Colm O'Donnell.
"Traditionally, hill farmers burned off the mature vegetation in the month of March when conditions were favourable i.e. it was dry enough to carry out a controlled burning safely, without affecting ground nesting birds. No level of expertise could carry out this activity when the ground is too wet, or indeed too dry, as is currently the case," said O'Donnell.
Minister Creed needs to support Minister Humphreys proposal to extend the burning dates to include the month of March. Then farmers need vital supports from the Local Authorities, Fire Service, the DAFM and the NPWS to rectify this monster, which has been created by bad legislation, said O'Donnell.