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Time to thank those who have protected some of the rarest habitat on the planet

20th March 2024

The following letter from Andrew Gilruth was sent to the Telegraph in response to an article calling for grouse shooting and farming to be banned or significantly reduced in the UK’s National Parks.


Chris Moss appears unaware that the American national parks, showcasing nature alone, are an illusion (What our national parks can learn from the rest of the world, 18 March).

At Yellowstone 2,000 soldiers evicted the native communities that had cared for this land since the beginning of time.

More recently, George Monbiot described those advocating this approach in Africa as ‘colonial conservationists’.

It is bizarre that some feel it’s time to do the same here and remove upland farmers and gamekeepers from our own national parks. These are the very people that have best protected and maintained some of the rarest habitat on the planet – open heather moorland.

The Rio Convention on Biodiversity ratified the global importance of our beautiful heather clad hills, still visited by millions every year, because they support many plant communities only found here.

Moors managed for driven grouse shooting also support a unique collection of eighteen bird species of international importance.

Rather than criticising those that have been looking after these places for generations, it is time to thank them.

Andrew Gilruth

Chief Executive

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.

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