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Water

Seventy per cent of the UK’s drinking water comes from the uplands and the Moorland Association takes the responsibility for its protection very seriously.

As peat soils dry out through drainage, wildfires, or over dominance of shrubby plants like heather, peat, and the carbon stored in it, can be washed into water courses. This turns water brown and can cost water companies – and their customers – large sums of money to remove the discolouration to meet drinking water standards.

Land managers have a key role to play in understanding the interactions between vegetation management and water catchments to minimise colour run-off reaching reservoirs. There are few tools at their disposal, but careful use of, and in combination, burning, mowing and grazing patterns can be sympathetically deployed.

Slowing the flow, reducing erosion of peat and introducing Sphagnum moss has improved water quality on this water catchment site also managed for grouse and sheep grazing.

Slowing the flow, reducing erosion of peat and introducing Sphagnum moss has improved water quality on this water catchment site also managed for grouse and sheep grazing.

As with carbon capture, good moorland water quality depends on a layer of Sphagnum moss acting as a protective cloak between peat and other taller plants. Sphagnum not only slows water flow across the surface – potentially mitigating against flash flooding further downstream – it also filters out any colour along the way. Read more about grouse moor management and flooding.

Many of our projects, including bare peat vegetation, drain blocking and raising the moor’s water table help reduce the erosion of peat into water courses and encourages Sphagnum to grow – and filter the water for free.

Moorland Association works with Natural England, Yorkshire Water, United Utilities and peatland restoration partnerships to find workable conservation solutions, while securing the long-term future of grouse moor management and agriculture on the land.

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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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MOOR OWNERS’ REACTION TO GOVERNMENT MOVE ON HEATHER BURNING The Moorland Association, whose members care for more than one million acres of moorland, issued the following statement in response to the Government’s announcement on new legislation regarding heather burning on blanket bog. Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association, said: “Heather burning is a vital tool for moor owners and managers who are heavily […]

RARE HEN HARRIER NOW REPORTED ON HALF OF GROUSE MOORS Hen harriers are being recorded on at least half of grouse moors in England, a new survey has revealed. The hen harrier is one of the most at-risk birds of prey in the UK and a government-led action plan is in operation to help boost the population. A survey conducted by the Moorland Association, which […]

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