Heather and grass burning

The burning of heather and grass is governed principally by the Heather and Grass etc Burning (England) Regulations 2007 and the Hill Farming Act 1946.

The following legislation is also relevant to the burning of heather and grass:

  • The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 prohibits burning which disturbs or destroys wild birds or other protected animals, plants and habitats and in some cases burning on a Site of Special Scientific Interest without Natural England’s consent;
  • The Conservation (Natural Habitats, & c) Regulations 1994;
  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974;
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999;
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998;
  • The Environment Protection Act 1990;
  • The Water Resources Act 1991;
  • The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979;
  • The Highways Act 1980.

There is also a Heather and Grass Burning Code 2007 which, whilst not legally binding, outlines good practice on the burning of heather and grass.

When do the Heather and Grass etc Burning (England) Regulations 2007 apply?

The Heather and Grass etc Burning (England) Regulations 2007 do not apply to land cultivated as private gardens or to allotments. Some of the Regulations do not apply to the burning of vegetation covered by the Regulations carried out on railway land by or under the authority of Network Rail or Transport for London.

What does the Heather and Grass etc Burning (England) Regulations 2007 prohibit?

The Heather and Grass etc Burning (England) Regulations 2007 prohibits:

    the commencement of the burning of heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium (such vegetation is referred to in the Regulations as “specified vegetation”) on land between sunset and sunrise; the burning of specified vegetation where there are insufficient persons and/ or equipment to control and regulate the burning during the entire period of the operation; the burning of any specified vegetation outside of the “burning season” without a licence (The burning season for land which is situated within an “upland area” is from 1 October to 15 April and for other land is from 1 November and 31 March.

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For more information on:

  • Licenses
  • Failure to comply with the Heather and Grass etc Burning (England) Regulations 2007