Conservation at Work

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Suspicious activity on the moors

12th April 2024

A Moorland Association member has confirmed that an individual was caught probing peat without consent on a protected site and, if proven, this could amount to a breach of the law.
The individual, a volunteer for a not-for-profit organisation, initially claimed that no peat was disturbed and even tried to deny carrying a peat probe. A view that swiftly changed when it was disclosed that the episode was recorded on video.
The fact that the individual was observed quickly concealing the probe, in a rucksack, as soon as they realised they were being watched suggests they knew perfectly well that they should have requested permission from the landowner and consent from Natural England before engaging in such activity.

Do share your evidence

We commend the estate staff for using their phones to record the event and making detailed notes (complete with times) of what they saw and what was said.

The Moorland Association has approached the conservation organisation in an attempt to resolve this issue.
If you witness any further episodes of staff or volunteers from any organisation engaged in attempting to probe peat or otherwise disturb protected sites over the next few months please do share it with us.

How to record activity like this
· Watch and note what is happening – try to make a written note of anything you see and keep this in a safe place.
· Take photos and/or video.
· Note the date, time and weather conditions.
· Note the location accurately. If possible, record a grid reference, or ideally a GPS reading, of both the scene and where you witnessed the incident.
· Note a description of person/s involved including gender, age, height, clothing, behaviour, anything carried etc.
· Note any vehicle registration numbers, make, model and colour or distinctive features.
· Identify other witnesses if possible and obtain their name and contact details.


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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