Moor burning on upland peat bogs: Our response to the RSPB

The RSPB press office appear to have forgotten that 75% of the world’s heather moorland is found in the UK because grouse moor managers have been fighting to save it - since before the RSPB existed. In 1880 the first moor owner took a city corporation to court for draining peatland to provide drinking water. In this century moor owners have refused subsidy, or tax incentives, from successive governments, which encouraged them to drain their peatlands and carpet them in trees or sheep.

GWCT research showed that between the 1940s and 1980s grouse shooting was the main reason we kept our open moorland. There is also a wider, shared social responsibility that rarely gets aired: pollution from urban areas has significantly damaged the growth of the rare plants protecting the surface of our peatlands for over 100 years.  

The main body of people that began large scale efforts to combat this degradation were moor owners. It is bizarre that the RSPB now seek to criticise them through the highly selective use of both science and history. Conservationists are still learning how complex these peatland systems are and moor owners are helping evolve best practice.

Andrew Gilruth

Director of Communications

Help us create a thriving countryside rich in game and other wildlife

What do we do?

  • We use science to promote game and wildlife management as an essential part of nature conservation.
  • We develop scientifically researched game and wildlife management techniques.
  • We promote our work to conservationists, including farmers and landowners and offer an on-site advisory service on all aspects of game and wildlife management, so that Britain’s countryside and its wildlife are enhanced for the public benefit.
  • We influence government policy with sound science that creates progressive and effective policies.
  • We support best practice for field sports that contribute to improving the biodiversity of the countryside.

Donate by Credit or Debit Card >>

Got a PayPal account? Donate faster here:
Paypalcheckout .fw

Untitled -1.fw

What do we believe?

  • Scientific research should underpin sustainable conservation practice.
  • Game and wildlife management is the foundation of good conservation.
  • Field sports (in particular shooting and fishing) can contribute substantially to the conservation of landscape, habitat and wildlife.
  • Humane and targeted predator control is an essential part of effective game and wildlife conservation.
  • We utterly oppose those who engage in wildlife crime.
  • Good conservation goes hand-in-hand with economic land use.

How your money is spent

  • We spent over £5m on vital game and wildlife research and public education in 2017.

Donate by Credit or Debit Card >>

Got a PayPal account? Donate faster here:
Paypalcheckout .fw


Heather burning

at 14:49 on 09/10/2018 by Alistair Redpath

WBW's comment that RSPB's criticism is "hardly worth bothering about" is way off the mark as they have a powerful and vocal following and the ear of many in Government, especially in the devolved administrations. Just look at the recent decision in Wales. The minority SNP leadership see shooting in general, and grouse shooting in particular, as elitist and would listen to any opinions which reinforce their views regardless of the factual basis. Shooting interests need to be equally vocal but evidence-based to stand any chance of countering RSPB, Packham, Monbiot and crew and protecting the diversity of our uplands.

Heather burning

at 13:02 on 09/10/2018 by WBW

It is widely accepted that heather burning when carried out correctly , provides a rich and varied habitat for many upland species . Estate owners and their keepers have been the guardians of the countryside for many generations . The RSPB doesn't manage land . They merely allow it do its own thing . Cutting the odd tree off midway up to allow birds of prey to perch ....putting fox nets over the entrance hole to an earth to inhibit the access and egress of a fox is not vermin control . Infact in Spey side , they rely on the help of us local keepers to bolt foxes from earth's on their land as they will not allow any of their own staff to do so . That isn't something that many members will be aware of. In short ...more nonsense from the bird of prey charity is hardly worth bothering about .

Make a comment

Cookie Policy

Our website uses cookies to provide you with a better online experience. If you continue to use our site without changing your browser settings, we'll assume you are happy to receive cookies. Please read our cookie policy for more information.

Do not show this message again