Heather burning

Heather burning Great Hograh moor. Photo: Colin Grice

Heather burning in England is legal from 1 October to 15 April (far too late in my view) in upland areas – see rules here.

It is the responsibility of local authorities to measure air quality – if I lived in an area where heather burning were common then I would ask the local authority what measurements they had made of air quality impacts (including dioxins) of heather burning.

When burning you must ‘not create smoke likely to damage health or cause a nuisance’.

The 2007 Heather and Grass Burning Code states:

  • ‘try not to damage the moss or litter layer or expose the bare soil surface’
  • ‘Aim to extinguish fires before sunset and always ensure they are properly extinguished by dusk. Start burning early’
  • ‘It is unlawful to cause emission of smoke which is prejudicial to health or causes a nuisance.
    [Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990]’

If you feel that any heather burn is causing you a nuisance then you should inform your local authority.


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  1. Euard says:

    A system whereby deliberate burning of large areas of the countryside is considered not only acceptable, by perversely beneficial, is insane.

    • Tim Bidie says:

      That system is nature:





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