Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Monday: England - Best Practice Burning Group

I was chairman for the 38th meeting of this Group, yesterday, but we could possibly be nearing the end of this long run.  I was a founder member of the Group way back in 2003, when we were all a lot younger.  One of the highlights of the Group's work was the success of the advice provided to Defra about the review of the Heather & Grass Burning Code, and the regulations behind it, that was launched in 2007.  The Group has made a lot of progress, but maybe it is time for a change.

A suggestion was discussed for the Group to reform as an Uplands Best Practice Group that will provide practitioner input to Defra's Upland Stakeholder Forum, which is now gathering momentum. In the new guise the Group would be better able to provide practitioner input to debates beyond burning, and it was noticeable yesterday that much of the discussion was about peatland management, springing from the Outcomes discussions focussed on the 'Bog-athon' process. See the previous post.  If this change goes ahead, the Group is likely to establish small task groups to address specific topics and these could include issues around burning.

The Uplands Alliance is also in the development stage and it appears that its work will focus principally on research and policy issues.  Some clear thinking will be required to make sure that all the groups work together efficiently and effectively so that we avoid any hint of duplication and serve the best interests of the uplands.

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