Conservation at Work

Latest News
tickerbg

MOORLANDS FAILED BY FLAWED SYSTEM TO PREDICT BLAZES

4th May 2011

The Moorland Association – managers of over a fifth of the moorlands in England and Wales – have slammed the Met Office system in place to protect some of England’s most precious landscapes from wildfires as ‘pitifully inadequate.

Chairman of the Moorland Association, Edward Bromet, explained: “We have several square miles of peatland habitat ablaze or burnt, and yet the Met Office system has not reached its top level of ‘Extreme Risk’ to trigger the closure of moors to visitors. It’s like having a fire alarm in your house that goes off after the fire once everything has been destroyed. The system is pitifully inadequate and we have been lobbying hard to get the data re-evaluated and the trigger point lowered.”

Moorland fires are an environmental disaster because they release tonnes of carbon stored up in the peat soils. They are devastating for important and nationally dwindling ground nesting birds, such as Lapwing, Curlew and Golden Plover, that return to the moors at this time of year to raise their young. Iconic landscapes are reduced to black, charred eyesores that can take decades to recover. Wildfires on moorland managed for red grouse are a particular threat as these moors support up to five times as many wading birds as other moorland areas, and are home to a many of England’s most protected and special places – Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Continued Mr Bromet: “Many of the fires started so far this year appear to have been completely by accident. Perhaps a discarded cigarette, or a barbeque left smouldering; but arson is suspected in some cases and there have been arrests. Given the threat to human life, wildlife and livelihoods, the best thing that visitors can do when the conditions are hot, dry and windy, is stay away from the tinder dry moors altogether. Meanwhile we insist that the powers that be put in place a system that works and keeps the moors and their visitors safe.”

dog

Did You Know?

75% of Europe’s remaining upland heather moorland is found in the UK – 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.

Stay in Touch with Us



Read our News

MOORLAND ASSOCIATION STATEMENT ON RSPB STANCE ON GAMEBIRD SHOOTING Mark Cunliffe Lister, chairman of the Moorland Association, said: “The call for licensing of driven grouse shooting and the threat of a possible ban in future is both disproportionate and unnecessary. “Licensing of grouse shooting would add another expensive layer of bureaucracy that would not resolve wildlife crime and environmental issues that are already being […]

Countryside organisations urge Government to back new ‘blueprint’ for future of shooting Leading countryside organisations have today (Friday October 9) urged the Government to support a new blueprint for the shooting sector which aims to deliver a ‘game changing’ benefit for the environment. The guidelines provide the most comprehensive framework to date for the creation, management and restoration of habitat for wildlife. The blueprint has been adopted […]

Twitter