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Seventy per cent of the UK’s drinking water comes from the uplands and the Moorland Association takes the responsibility for its protection very seriously.

As peat soils dry out through drainage, wildfires, or over dominance of shrubby plants like heather, peat, and the carbon stored in it, can be washed into water courses. This turns water brown and can cost water companies – and their customers – large sums of money to remove the discolouration to meet drinking water standards.

Land managers have a key role to play in understanding the interactions between vegetation management and water catchments to minimise colour run-off reaching reservoirs. There are few tools at their disposal, but careful use of, and in combination, burning, mowing and grazing patterns can be sympathetically deployed.

Slowing the flow, reducing erosion of peat and introducing Sphagnum moss has improved water quality on this water catchment site also managed for grouse and sheep grazing.

Slowing the flow, reducing erosion of peat and introducing Sphagnum moss has improved water quality on this water catchment site also managed for grouse and sheep grazing.

As with carbon capture, good moorland water quality depends on a layer of Sphagnum moss acting as a protective cloak between peat and other taller plants. Sphagnum not only slows water flow across the surface – potentially mitigating against flash flooding further downstream – it also filters out any colour along the way. Read more about grouse moor management and flooding.

Many of our projects, including bare peat vegetation, drain blocking and raising the moor’s water table help reduce the erosion of peat into water courses and encourages Sphagnum to grow – and filter the water for free.

Moorland Association works with Natural England, Yorkshire Water, United Utilities and peatland restoration partnerships to find workable conservation solutions, while securing the long-term future of grouse moor management and agriculture on the land.

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Did You Know?

75% of of the world’s remaining heather moorland is found in Britain – but this area declined alarmingly over the latter part of the last century. The Moorland Association was set up in 1986 to coordinate the efforts of moorland owners and managers to halt this loss, particularly in England and Wales.

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Grouse moors respond to RSPB birdcrime report The Moorland Association, which represents grouse moor owners and managers in England, said today that grouse moors are a proven friend of the environment and not an enemy. Following the publication of the 2018 Birdcrime Report by RSPB, Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association, said: ” One incident of wildlife crime anywhere is too […]

STATEMENT ON ILKLEY MOOR ARSONIST SENTENCE The Moorland Association responds to the sentencing of Mohammed Zulkifl at Bradford Crown Court today. Zulkifl pleaded guilty to committing arson on Ilkley Moor in April and was sentenced to a young offender’s institution for 27 months. Passing the sentence Judge Durham Hall remarked: “This case is a matter that has come to considerable public […]

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