Yorkshire councils: back a grouse moor burning ban

Yorkshire councils: back a grouse moor burning ban

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Grouse moors continue to set fire to the region’s heather-clad hills to engineer optimal breeding habitat for game birds for shooting.

Burning moorland has a broad range of ecological impacts including degrading peatlands, releasing climate-altering gasses into the atmosphere, decreasing biodiversity and contributing to flooding in communities downstream from grouse moors.

Yorkshire hosts over half of England’s carbon-rich blanket bogs, yet in the midst of a climate crisis over 550 incidents of burning were performed across the county’s grouse moors between October 2019 - April 2020. The Committee on Climate Change—which advises governments on environmental protection—has subsequently recommended that a grouse moor burning ban is introduced within the year.

Burning has also continued on moorland in flood-prone areas, where the damaged peatland hills are no longer acting as an effective flood barrier for the region, resulting in increased run-off water into downstream communities.

Moreover, residents across the county have aired concerns that burning has increased in severity in recent years, and is being conducted “day after day after day”, with smog polluting communities and smoke entering homes.

With the clock counting down to the next burning season urgent action is needed to protect the county’s upland environment and communities prone to flooding and smoke pollution. We, the undersigned, urge Yorkshire’s councils to back a ban on grouse moor burning.