The Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations 2009 explicitly make the disposal of waste by uncontrolled burning (including any such burning occurring in a domestic fireplace) an offence under both the Air Pollution Act, 1987 and the Waste Management Acts, 1996 to 2008.
However, the regulations contain an exemption that permits the use of untreated or uncontaminated wood waste as fuel in garden barbeques, for the sole purpose of cooking food. In addition, local authorities also have the power to grant certain local cultural events and activities an exemption under the regulations, as may be deemed appropriate.
A further exemption is also provided for farmers, under specific circumstances, to dispose of certain forms of agricultural waste by burning, until 1st January 2016. After this date all such activities will require registration with the relevant local authority, and also be subject to the controls set out in the facility permit legislation.
Please note that failure to comply with the Regulations is an offence, and that fines of up to €3,000 may be imposed upon summary conviction in the District Court.
Burning Waste Is Bad For The Environment!
The burning of domestic, garden or commercial waste may appear to provide a convenient and cheap method of waste disposal, which causes little or no damage to the environment. However, this is not the case.
The main source of Ireland's dioxin emissions are currently from uncontrolled combustion processes, such as the home burning of domestic waste and backyard burning of waste. Almost 73% of the dioxins emitted to the air in Ireland come from the uncontrolled, low-temperature burning of waste.
It is now estimated that at least 10% of uncollected waste in certain areas of Ireland is currently disposed of by illegal burning. In 2007, for example, an average of 80% of Irish households availed of a domestic waste collection service, but in some areas the participation rate was as low as 55%.
Uncontrolled low-temperature burning generates several types of pollutants, that can potentially:
- Aggravate respiratory (asthma, bronchitis) and heart illnesses.
- Lead to kidney and liver damage.
- Cause nausea and headaches.
- Contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and global warming.
If you experience any illegal waste burning activity please contact the Enforcement Section, either via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at (01) 204 7954.