Thursday, 26 November 2009

Scotland - Muirburn Consultation Responses

Alison has produced a summary of the responses to the Muirburn section of the Scottish Wildlife & Natural Environment Bill Consultation produced by members of Scotland's Moorland Forum.  This is available from the Trust's website.  It can only be a summary and the full responses are available from the SG Website.

A pattern can be seen from these responses: there is general agreement on most issues but there is a polarisation about burning in spring.  Several organisations are promoting an end to the burning season of 31 Mar 09.  I do not support this.

  • There is no compelling evidence to support the early cessation of the season.  References are made to the BTO report commissioned by the Moorland Forum, but I thought it had been acknowledged that this had been ambivalent.  It is surprising how such reports keep coming around.
  • Losing the ability to burn in April would cut off most of the burning that takes place in the highlands.  This would result in more rank vegetation and a greater risk of wildfires.  I argue that this would produce a greater risk to peat and bird habitat.
The other issue that surprises me is the response to the proposal to remove the requirement for the notification of neighbours.  It is pretty clear that this has never been consistently carried out and arguably it is a bit of bureaucratic nonsense.  Yet several respondents are reluctant to see this requirement removed.  I would prefer it removed to guidance that notification occurs where burning is to take place near a sensitive habitat or forestry close on the other side of the march.  Otherwise what purpose does it serve?  The default position should be that muirburn can be expected on all managed moorland every year.  Perhaps notification should only be required when muirburn is not going to take place!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please send me any comments on the content of this Blog. I may not agree with you but I will always welcome your feedback!