The 1 January 2019 will bring an end to the practice of burning most types of agricultural waste on farms, including farm plastics. 

Ending the exemption follows extensive engagement between the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland, National Farmers Union of Scotland(NFUS) and recycling service providers. SEPA have worked closely with NFU Scotland to roll out the change which will feature ongoing dialogue with farmers and crofters over the coming months.

SEPA strictly enforce the requirements of waste legislation and compliance with this is non-negotiable. 

To give the sector time to make alternative arrangements, land managers may continue current practices until 31 December 2018 as part of the transition. However, this will only be tolerated, if it is carried out in a manner that does not cause problems for neighbouring communities. If the burning of agricultural waste has an impact upon neighbouring communities during the transitional period, up to and including the 31 December 2018, SEPA reserves the right to take enforcement action.

From 1 January 2019, there are some farm wastes that can continue to be burned under the terms of the paragraph 29 of Schedule 1 of the Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011. It is important to note that even these wastes can only be burnedif the activity does not cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.

These wastes include biomass such as:

  • Vegetable waste from agriculture and forestry
  • Vegetable waste from the food processing industry, if the heat generated is recovered
  • Fibrous vegetable waste from pulp-making, if the heat generated is recovered 
  • Uncontaminated wood waste (but not paper or card)

For further advice please see the SEPA website here.