Maintenance of soil organic matter (GAEC 6)

Date published: 7 February, 2019

For recent changes to this guidance, please see the bottom of the page.

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*)

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.

*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 Agriculture, Land Drainage and Irrigation Project (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017.

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