Maintenance of soil organic matter (GAEC 6)

Date published: 1 January, 2015

The aim of these rules is to maintain soil organic matter levels.

You must:

1. comply with the requirements of the Muirburn Code as they relate to the maintenance of soil organic matter.

The following would be considered to be a breach of the requirements:

  • leaving a fire unattended
  • being unable to control a fire or having not made provision for its proper control
  • causing damage to any woodland

You must not:

1. burn arable stubble except for disease control or to eliminate plant pests

2. plough rough grazing or other semi-natural area* unless approved as part of an environmental impact assessment (EIA*)

Burning straw isn't covered by Cross Compliance. But you must be aware that if you burn straw in the field after harvest you will burn the underlying stubble.

Also, burning straw in certain circumstances (for example straw used for covering carrots) is covered by the Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations.

For further information or if you are intending to burn straw contact SEPA.

SEPA customer services enquiries
Tel: 03000 99 66 99

If you're making muirburn you should follow the Muirburn Code. A copy can be downloaded from the Scottish Government website.

The Muirburn Code

The EIA regulations restrict 'intensive' agricultural operations on uncultivated or semi-natural land, or large-scale restructuring projects on agricultural land, where the result would have a 'significant' impact on the environment.

Full details of the EIA regulations can be found on the Scottish Government website.

EIA regulations

*Explanation of terms

'Rough grazing or other semi-natural areas' is land containing semi-natural vegetation including heathland, heather moorland, bog, unimproved grassland and rough grassland which is used or suitable for grazing.

'EIA' relates to The Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture)(Scotland) Regulations 2006.

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