Small Farms in Spain Exempted from Ban on Burning Agricultural Waste

Spanish government officials announced exceptions to the burning bans found in national regulations and the E.U.’s Common Agricultural Policy.
By Paolo DeAndreis
Feb. 6, 2023 21:01 UTC

The ban on burn­ing agri­cul­tural remains found in Spanish national reg­u­la­tions and the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will not apply to small farms in Spain.

In a note, Madrid’s Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) has clar­i­fied that the exemp­tion applies to micro and small farms, which will still need to be autho­rized to burn by the local author­i­ties.

Micro-farms are those with an annual turnover below €2 mil­lion and employ no more than ten work­ers. On the other hand, small farms do not have more than 50 employ­ees, and the turnover does not exceed €10 mil­lion.

The burn­ing ban might also be lifted for those using the prac­tice as a last-resort phy­tosan­i­tary treat­ment.

Other exemp­tions to the burn­ing ban include forestry man­age­ment oper­a­tions that must remove dead veg­e­ta­tion. In these cases, autho­rized lim­ited burn­ing can occur when the amount of veg­e­ta­tion could be con­sid­ered wild­fire fuel.

See Also:Researchers Predict More Intense Wildfires in Europe

That excep­tion allows forestry man­age­ment ser­vices to burn remains from clear­ing, trim­ming, over­growth, shoots cuts, prun­ing, pick­ling, skim­ming, etc.

These clar­i­fi­ca­tions match the infor­ma­tion in the announce­ment of a period of low for­est fire dan­ger just issued by the Junta de Extremadura, the gov­ern­ment of cen­tral Spain.

In that order, the Junta de Extremadura explained that burn­ing ban exemp­tions for pest treat­ments could only be autho­rized for a lim­ited num­ber of crops when those crops were man­i­festly affected by cer­tain pests.

The local Junta also spec­i­fied that autho­rized farms could only burn agri­cul­tural remains pro­duced within their bound­aries.

The nature and scope of the exemp­tions to the cur­rent reg­u­la­tions have been the core of a heated debate at national and regional lev­els.

Burning has been a long-stand­ing tra­di­tion in many farm­ing oper­a­tions and is con­sid­ered cru­cial by many farm­ers. The plague of wild­fires and the intro­duc­tion of new agro­nom­i­cal prac­tices have affected these tra­di­tions, with agri­cul­tural remains often being treated and reused by farm­ers to enrich and pro­tect the soil.

As reported by CastellonPlaza, local politi­cians had asked for the burn­ing ban to be removed after its ini­tial intro­duc­tion in the law against soil con­t­a­m­i­na­tion enacted last spring.

As reported by Agropopular, the General Directorate of the Ministry, which pub­lished the clar­i­fi­ca­tions, also spec­i­fied that the exemp­tions can only be con­sid­ered an inter­pre­ta­tion of the law. This means that their inter­pre­ta­tion is not bind­ing for courts or judges.


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