Search Results for: moorland burning

Grouse shooting over as moorland burning banned?

An article in today’s Observer is titled ‘Grouse shoots scrapped as heather burning is banned on moors’. The headlines don’t tell the whole story of course: the ban is not wholesale, it applies to large areas of moorland in England but not Scotland (where heather burning is also commonplace), and landowners have not banned heather burning for good but have said that their tenants are ‘no longer allowed to burn heather routinely’. This, Charlie Moores writes, may not be the end of driven grouse shooting, but it’s certainly the begining of the end of it.

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RSPB | Analysis shows that burning of moorlands is biggest threat to England’s SSSis

It’s not been a good ‘season’ for the horrible grouse shooting industry. There has been poor weather, heather beetle, low productivity, exposure of ‘wilful blindness’ on Channel 4 News, councils in England calling for bans on moorland burning, and the Scottish government giving higher protection to Mountain Hares and saying they were planning to bring in a grouse moor licencing system as patience had finally (after a VERY long time) run out at the level of raptor persecution by gamekeepers. Now, just a few months after calling for a ban on peatland burning, (and just days after shooting lobbyist Alex Hogg kept a straight face while describing grouse moors as ‘paradise for birdwatchers – see Alex Hogg knows nothing about birdwatching’), the RSPB have released news of an analysis that says – contrary to what the shooting industry claims – that – er, setting fire to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) is not actually a very good thing at all…who knew, eh…

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Another Council calls for ban on burning peatlands

“Research has found that burning peatland degrades habitats, releases carbon emissions, reduces biodiversity and increases flood risk.” Which neatly summarises why yet another council that has grouse moors within its boundaries is turning on the industry. Following recent similar calls by the RSPB and a host of other northern councils (see our Moorland Burning posts), members of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council are to ask the government to introduce a ban on the practice of peatland burning by grouse moor owners. BBurning on peatlands has become an increasingly hot-button topic as estates set more and more fires in their quest to turn ever more Red Grouse into cash, leading to – the RSPB explicitly said last year – ‘the biggest identified threat to England’s most important places for wildlife’.

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Hen Harriers return to Wharfedale moorland

Well, well, well. Who could possibly have predicted this etc etc. In what must be one of grouse shooting’s worst-case scenarios coming true, a previously ‘dead’ moorland that banned grouse shooting activities (ie high levels of raptor persecution and rotational burning) has reportedly sprung back to life, birds of prey have started to roost, and peatland habitats have begun to regenerate. After all the time and money grouse shooting’s lobbyists have spent telling us that without the skilled management techniques (ie high levels of raptor persecution and rotational burning) of the ‘conservationists with guns’ Britain’s uplands would simply curl up and waste away…Nonsense, of course. Kudos NG Bailey, and kudos the Yorkshire Post and journalist Grace Newton for continuing to speak up for wildlife in a region that has repeatedly been acknowledged as the worst for raptor persecution in the UK

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RSPB launches burning reporting website

The RSPB is today launching a website where members of the public can submit their records of managed burning in northern England’s uplands as part of showing the Government where burning is still taking place. The charity will then analyse the records to see if they’re likely to be on peat soils (to indicate where blanket bog should be) and in protected areas (SSSIs, SACs). An IUCN report on peatland estimated that the UK may host between 8.8 and 14.8% of Europe’s peatland area and about 13% of the world resource of blanket bog. They state that though blanket bog has a species-poor assemblage it “contains an exceptionally high proportion of species with legal protection under UK and European conservation law“. Blanket bog forms the largest expanse of semi-natural habitat in the UK, but almost three quarters of peatlands in England are already damaged or degraded, according to Natural England, with burning a key driver.

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Barnsley Council backs ban on grouse moor burning

Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors has announced that Barnsley council has joined the extensive roll-call of councils and public utilities to back a ban on the rotational burning of the nation’s uplands. Burning is a tool used by the grouse industry to ensure young heather shoots for their grouse ‘farms’, but it is linked with habitat destruction, the deaths of rare reptiles, smoke pollution, flooding in communities below the moorlands, and is incompatible with the UK’s stance on the global climate emergency. We have just published a timely podcast with Luke Steele, Director and spokesperson of Ban Bloodsports here, which looks at burning as well as the option of licencing grouse shoots.

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Kirklees council backs plans to stop grouse moor burning

In what is starting to look like a flood (one, ironically, caused just like the downstream floods in eg Hebden Bridge by gamekeepers), yet another council in northern England has backed plans to ban the burn – the routine destruction of the uplands to engineer habitats to allow shooters to kill more grouse. Kirklees, a local government district of West Yorkshire on the edge of the Peak District ‘national park’ (a notorious raptor persecution hotspot), joins Wakefield, Sheffield, York, Doncaster and Calderdale Councils in calling for a ban. The call comes as the grouse moor burning ‘season’ opens again, with a considerable area of grouse moors in the Wessenden Valley expected to begin being set on fire by shoots. Yesterday the RSPB again renewed its own call for peatland burning to stop to protect scarce habitats and wildlife.

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RSPB calls for a ban on peatland burning: why?

There are many reasons to loathe the grouse shooting industry: it’s built entirely around the shooting of wild birds (Red Grouse) and the trapping/snaring of vast (unrecorded so no-one knows just how vast) numbers of native predators (from mountain hares and foxes to mustelids and corvids); it’s underpinned by wildlife crime that is provably crushing populations of raptors on grouse moors (especially Hen Harriers and Golden Eagles); and it depends on the regular burning of blanket bogs and peatland to promote the growth of young heather (the grouse feed on young heather shoots and this damaging practice has been taking place for more than 150 years now). Now the RSPB has called for a ban on burning in the uplands. Why is that? Hopefully the following will go some way to explain…

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