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2nd December 2021

Leading rural organisations have welcomed a decision today to refuse Wild Justice permission for a judicial review on ‘burning’ in England for a second time.

Mrs Justice Lang found all four of their grounds challenging the lawfulness of the burning regulations were unarguable. The regulations introduced by Defra this year restricted the burning of vegetation over deep peat in protected areas. A previous decision to award costs against Wild Justice – an organisation spearheaded by Chris Packham – was upheld.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation, the Countryside Alliance, the Moorland Association and the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation had previously been granted interested party status in the legal challenge and participated in today’s hearing.

The interested parties had already agreed to donate their share of any awarded costs to the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust.

A spokesperson for the interested parties said: “This is good news for upland managers who use prescribed burning alongside other tools to manage our precious uplands. Our approach to sustainable moorland management has been vindicated as sustainable and legally sound.

“Carefully controlled heather burning is a widely recognised, legal and valuable tool in the management of upland vegetation which can produce a range of benefits for wildlife, the environment and wider society through the prevention of devastating summer wildfires.”


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.

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