Donegal farmers have been warned about the consequences of starting gorse fires.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine takes note of reports of fires since the closing date for such activities commenced on March 1.
This has been a particular problem in Counties Kerry, Laois and Wicklow in recent weeks. However, Donegal has also been problematic in recent years, with some fires burning for days.
The department, by means of satellite imagery, can identify lands that have been burnt.
Analysis of the relevant imagery indicates that at least 130 hectares have been burnt in these counties since March 1.
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 1 March and the 31st of August, it is not in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation and therefore is not eligible for the remainder of the year,” a spokesperson for the department said.
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 will also shortly commence ground inspections in areas identified through satellite imagery to carry out further checks in these areas.
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 has no role in regard to prosecutions.Tags: