An article in the Shooting Times reports that there is to be a total ban on burning in the Central Pennines, but this is not the case. See what the Moorland Association has said about this.
The Trust is working with many other organisations to make sure that such a ban is not put in place. We argue that, while bad burning practices can cause damage, the use of appropriate burning techniques in the right place at the right time is an essential management tool for large areas of the uplands. We want to see burning carried out in a way that supports the balanced management of the uplands, and the facilities that they provide, including ecosystem services and economic activity.
Through the Uplands Management Group, which provides input to Defra's Upland Stakeholder Forum, we have been supporting the production of guidance about the importance of sphagnum moss for peatland, and carbon capture and storage. This guidance supports the use of fire as one of the management tools in the uplands. The Group will publish further guidance soon that outlines the appropriate management techniques for sphagnum.
In Scotland, I am leading the review of the Muirburn Code for the Scottish Government,and this serves to indicate the government's support for muirburn that is carried out using appropriate techniques.
In my view, heather burning is an essential part of upland management that must continue to be available, but like any powerful tool, burning must be used intelligently with an awareness of the impact it can have on sensitive features.