Burning issues


From the heather and grass burning code: Areas within 5 metres of watercourses. There can be an increased risk of soil erosion close to watercourses (e.g. once vegetation has been removed by burning, soil could be washed into a watercourse by rainwater, or the watercourse might flow with sufficient force that its banks could be eroded). Plan management activities to minimise this risk.

It would appear that not a great deal of notice has been taken of the burning code.

These photographs were taken in the Peak District in the last few days.

That water is heading toward Sheffield.

The idea that heather burning does not increase flood risk and water treatment costs is simply untenable.  But remember, this is all for the sport of shooting Red Grouse for fun so we won’t see Defra or Natural England doing much about it…  Do NE staff actually ever go to these places and see what is happening?







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  1. Les Wallace says:

    For some the salmon is as much an obsessive quarry as the red grouse. I bang on about this because it needs to be banged on about, muirburn does nothing that is beneficial for aquatic life and thereby fishing and is a detrimental to the biggest fieldsport of all -angling. As soon as the EMBER report came out I emailed a link to a fisheries scientist friend for their views. In reply I got a rather nervous note that it was difficult to pass comment on particular circumstances, effectively coping out of the issue. I emailed dozens of angling clubs and their (supposedly) representative organisations about the report and got virtually zilch in response. Probably because of animal welfare and conservation criticisms going back decades the huntin, fishin, shootin set is really shoulder to shoulder with a bit of a siege mentality and I strongly suspect that's why there haven't been any voices raised about muirburn from the angling sector, not one. When I was a into fishing thirty years ago it wasn't that unusual to hear quite prominent anglers say that fox hunting should be supported as a bulwark against the antis, at the time and even more in retrospect that's ridiculous. If anglers start speaking out the grouse moors will be very, very nervous.

    • Andy Holden says:

      Well said Les Wallace.
      The photographs show an absolutely disgraceful situation.
      This burning is the result of uneducated keepers 'just doing their job'.
      These people have no idea of the problems they are creating.
      And yet the grouse brigade pertain to be guardians of our wildlife and moorland environments.
      I have no doubt that UnNatural England, DEFRA (Do Everything Farmers' Representatives Ask) and the grouse 'industry' will excuse this particular moorland burning as a one-off, not the normal practice.
      Action HAS to be taken against this environmental damage.
      The angling community should have no worries about opposing the large scale, unnecessary burning of heather.
      Even though, in some cases, angling could be looked upon as unnecessary and cruel, I believe that if it wasn't for anglers then many of our waterways would be polluted, poor for all aquatic life and the wildlife associated with that.
      Anglers are far more the guardians of their domain than the grouse shooters are of their shooting land.

    • Steve Carver says:

      Well said Les. Couldn't agree more. I've put similar points to the likes of Peter Glenser and Liam Stokes without so much as an acknowledgement or response to the challenge I lay down. See posts in Country Squire Magazine

  2. Dytiscus says:

    If this is a SSSI, then you need a derogation from Natural England in order to have permission to carry out burning. A FoI request could be pursued? Or a letter to NE's responsible officer for the site? No derogation, or agreed management plan, then it may well be an illegal activity.

  3. Alex Milne says:

    "Do NE staff actually ever go to these places and see what is happening?".
    I would think that NE staff are as aware as yourself and the readers of this blog about the situation. However as NE is as much under the thumb of government as DEFRA then the chances of anything happening to prevent these atrocities is zero at present, no matter the actions that the public or staff of NE take.
    That is not to say that we must not strive to keep all these matters in the public domain. Your (and our) day will come eventually, but not soon.


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