Government to act on moorland burning – reaction

Blanket peat bogs: a threatened moorland habitat and one of UK's biggest carbon stores
  Published:  29 Oct 2019    |      1 minute read

A Government pledge to ban moorland burning on blanket peat bog has been welcomed by Friends of the Earth.

The move follows revelations by Friends of the Earth earlier this year showing that some landowners appeared to still be burning moorland for grouse shooting - despite a voluntary agreement not to do so.

Last night in the House of Commons, Environment minister Zac Goldsmith talked about peatland burning and said: “We are developing a legislative response to the problem”, because “the alternative simply has not worked.”

Blanket peat bogs, a threatened moorland habitat, are one of the UK’s biggest carbon stores, locking up millions of tonnes of climate-altering gases in their deep peat soils. They cover a vast expanse of the country’s uplands, and should be ideal spaces for wildlife. Yet they are intensively managed by grouse moor estates, who burn the moorland heather to maximise numbers of grouse for shooting.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole said:

“As our recent investigation revealed, voluntary measures to stop moorland burning have simply not worked – the government is right to say it will outlaw this outdated and damaging practice.

“Burning on blanket bog is bad for the climate, bad for communities and bad for nature. Ministers now need to legislate for a comprehensive ban on moorland burning, with no loopholes that could let landowners off the hook.

"It’s time to ban the burn.”