Six years ago today the RSPB made its complaint to the European Commission about burning practices at Walshaw Moor and many other driven grouse moors in the UK (See Wuthering Moors 28, 15 October 2012). The RSPB deserves great respect for this important move (even though it is very quiet about it itself these days).
To cut a very long story short (see Inglorious and posts here entitled Wuthering Moors – there are, with this one, 75 of them now) action started by Natural England, which proved to be abortive, to attempt to regulate damaging burning of blanket bogs led to the RSPB complaining to the European Commission and the Commission threatening infraction proceedings against the UK government and Defra in particular. We are now in the position where Michael Gove and Defra are wriggling and trying to persuade the Commission that everything is OK (see
Wuthering Moors 58, Wuthering Moors 68 and Wuthering Moors 70). But Defra/NE have come up with an inadequate set of measures to regulate habitat damage and are essentially trying to pull the wool over the Commission’s eyes in claiming that they have a grip of moorland burning. Burning of what appears to me to be blanket bog still continues on Walshaw Moor this burning season and it remains to be seen how much will happen elsewhere.
I’ll be blogging later this week on how you can help Defra and NE monitor compliance with what they have promised the European Commission they will achieve.