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31st May 2022

The Moorland Association today responds to allegations that there have been breaches of the Heather & Grass Burning Regulations 2021.

This supposedly extensive investigation reveals that the overwhelming majority of controlled burns comply with the legislation.

Even by their own admission, RSPB and Greenpeace have found only two incidents of burning where they believe a burn may have been conducted on an area of deep peat and even then the evidence is not conclusive.

In our view this is yet another report aimed at denigrating grouse moor management.

We are confident that our members are compliant, are following best practice guidelines and we are in touch with Defra on this matter.

For the avoidance of doubt, grouse moor managers do not burn peat.

Only the tips of the older, woody, vegetation are burnt off in small patches and the peat underneath is left unaffected. The most up to date science shows that not only does controlled burning not cause any damage to peatland, it may have a positive effect on carbon capture over the medium to long term.

It is important to note that the Fire & Rescue Service in England supports controlled burning on moorland to help prevent the spread of wildfire.

Wildfire is the single most serious threat to the carbon store, as it ignites the underlying peat.

Wildfires are becoming more frequent, and we must retain controlled burning as a tool to help mitigate the impact of wildfire in our countryside.

All landowners in England should act in partnership to ensure they have taken heed of the recommendations of the Peak District Wildfire project, published this month:


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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