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18th January 2022

The Moorland Association welcomes the news that an individual has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for causing a fire which destroyed  285 hectares (two square miles) of Marsden Moor last April.

Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association said: “It is well known that moorland is highly susceptible to wildfire in the spring and summer months. We work with partner organisations such as the NFU and the National Parks to educate members of the public about the danger and we have placed signs in prominent areas to remind people of the risks.

“The Fire & Rescue Services are already under pressure to protect us in our towns and cities without having to be called to vast blazes on moorland. It is unacceptable to ask fire crews to risk life and limb to put out a fire such as this. No-one should start a fire, light a firework or use a disposable barbecue on moorland, it is totally reckless.

“In addition to providing the ideal habitat for rare birds, insects and mammals, moorland peat is a vital carbon store, keeping carbon safely locked up underground for generations. Members of the public visiting moorland should adhere to the Countryside Code and help protect the beautiful landscape they come to enjoy. We can all do our bit to protect these beautiful places and safeguard rare species.”

The Moorland Association reports that last April there were six major wildfires on moorland, at Marsden Moor, at Rushup Edge and Baslow in Derbyshire; in Lancashire at Ramsbottom and Burnley; and in Greater Manchester at Dovestone Reservoir in Oldham and moorland near Tintwistle. In each case gamekeepers assisted fire and rescue crews in tackling the blazes.

(Image: West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service)


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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