Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Straw & stubble burning

Straw and stubble burning

What you must do

In Northern Ireland burning straw or stubble in the open on the farm is strongly discouraged. If you have no other alternative then you will be allowed to burn if you have registered an exemption with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), and follow the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) guidelines.

NIEA - The burning of waste on land in the open - paragraph 30 exemption

In Scotland you may burn stubble and straw. But burning is strongly discouraged by the environmental regulators.

Even if straw and stubble burning is allowed you must not emit dark smoke. Dark smoke is finely divided particles of matter suspended in the air as a visible cloud.

Preventing air pollution

Good practice

You should bale and cart straw from fields or chop the straw and plough it into the soil before establishing the next crop.

If burning of stubble and straw is permitted, you should consult the codes of good agricultural practice for more information on how to safely burn crop residues.

In Northern Ireland, see section 11.2 of the DARD code of good agricultural practice for water, air and soil.

DAERA: Code of good agricultural practice for the prevention of pollution of water, air and soil

In Scotland, see section 13.26 of the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code.

Scottish Government: Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA Code) 2005 (Scotland) (Adobe PDF 1.34MB)

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms