Barnsley Council has backed an end to heather burning to save the region’s peat moors from being damaged for grouse shooting.
In correspondence with Wild Moors, the Council has confirmed that it wants the environmentally-damaging practice, which is performed by shoot operators to engineer game bird breeding habitat, to stop.
The Council’s stance follows the grouse moor burning season having opened on 1 October — leading to concerns that many of Barnsley’s 32 square kilometres of grouse moors will soon be set on fire by shoots.
Luke Steele, Director of Wild Moors, said:
“It’s past time to put an end to the burning of threatened peatlands for grouse shooting — a practice which degrades fragile ecosystems, releases climate-altering gasses into the atmosphere and worsens flooding in communities downstream from grouse moors.
“With burning continuing on grouse moors across South Yorkshire, we commend Barnsley Council for giving its support for an end to burning to help save the region’s peatlands from further damage.”
Peatlands, a threatened moorland habitat, are one of the UK’s biggest carbon stores, locking up millions of tonnes of climate-altering gasses. However, when burning is performed the sensitive habitats are damaged, leading to large amounts of carbon being released into the atmosphere.
Almost three quarters of peatlands in England are already damaged or degraded, Natural England has revealed, with burning being a key driver.
Subsequently, the Committee on Climate Change, which advises the government on policies to help the environment, has recommended the practice be banned to protect peatlands from further damage.
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Notes for editors:
- Wild Moors campaigns to free up moorland for conservation from exploitation for grouse shooting. By working with society, companies and government to create change, we secure effective protection for wildlife, habitats and local communities.
- Research by the University of Leeds and others has found that grouse moor burning degrades peatland habitat, reduces biodiversity and increases flood risk.
- During the last burning season, Wild Moors, which monitors ecological damage on grouse moors, compiled more than 550 reports of peatlands being burnt by shoot operators across the county.