Conservation at Work

Blog & News

Private Landowners Make Better Conservationists

19th March 2024

In response to the excellent article by Matt Ridley in the current issue of The Spectator, the following letter was sent to the magazine by Andrew Gilruth, endorsing the key points raised in the article.


If the government wishes to meet its legal obligations to halt wildlife declines by 2030 it should spend more time listening to those that have best protected and maintained our precious landscapes and the wildlife which thrives on them (‘Private landowners make better conservationists’, 16 March).

Conservation is not easy. The government’s web site reveals that 48% of assessments within National Nature Reserves are ‘unfavourable’.

In the three years since the Environment Act was passed the conservation industry has produced endless glossy reports highlighting that the government has fallen behind on 18 of its 23 targets.

With six years left to meet the legal deadline to halt wildlife declines we need a new approach.

Perhaps now is the time for national conservation policy to be based on those that have achieved the best results – private landowners.

Andrew Gilruth

Chief Executive

The Moorland Association



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

Sign up to our newsletter


Read our Blog and News

MOORLAND ASSOCIATION STATEMENT ON LABOUR PARTY MANIFESTO The Moorland Association welcomes the  commitment within the Labour Party’s manifesto, published today, that Labour, if elected, will promote biodiversity, and protect England’s landscapes and wildlife. However, we are alarmed by the statement that a Labour government would ban the use of non-lethal snares. This would have devastating consequences for wildlife in the uplands of […]

MOORLAND SAFARIS SHOWCASE RARE BIRDS OF THE NORTH YORK MOORS Landowners in the North York Moors are hosting a series of Moorland Safaris to celebrate the thriving birdlife on grouse moors in the region and raise awareness of actions that can help some of our rarest species. Bransdale, Snilesworth, Spaunton and Danby Moors, all of which are managed for Red Grouse, provide the right habitat […]