Grouse moor managers wrongly blamed for flooding devastation: Our letter to The Guardian

You are right to applaud the efforts to restore our precious moorland to help flood defence (Flooding caused by poor management and floodplain building, say experts, 14 November), but it’s bizarre to also see those managing our grouse moors blamed. Much of this restoration work is being led by the gamekeepers and land managers who know these moors best.

The days of draining moorland, common in the 1960s and 1970s as part of an ill-conceived government policy to improve sheep grazing, are now long behind us. In fact, it is the grouse moor managers and other moorland landowners leading the charge to block up historical drains and re-wet moorland. It is estimated that around 18,000 hectares of moorland habitat on grouse moors has already been restored in this way across northern England. We should be celebrating, not neglecting, this great work.

Andrew Gilruth
Director of communications GWCT

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Flooding and moorland management.

at 11:31 on 15/11/2019 by Phillip Walker

Good morning. I reside in the Calder Valley where you may be aware there have been significant floods in the last 10 years or so in and adjacent to Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Sowerby Bridge etc. There is strong local feeling amoungst some locals -including an organisation ‘of sorts-’ called ‘Ban the Burn’, about moorland management and the alleged correlation with flooding. Despite the fact that some of the work you speak of has been undertaken by local land owners - large and small- for many years it has largely been ignored by most of the people I speak of. It is interesting to note however that the majority of the millions of pounds which has been spent in attempts to address flooding has been spent in the valley itself. In particular widening the local rivers, ensuring the neglected drains and watercourses have been replaced - and properly maintained. Yorkshire Water have also been encouraged to manage storage and outflow from many of their reservoirs in conjunction with predicted rainfall etc. Does this indicate that the real problems lie elsewhere ? We know climate change predictions indicate wetter extremes. This has undoubtedly been the driving factor in flooding across the country in the last decade or so. In the majority of these incidents there has not been a grouse moor within a 100 miles or so, but still the naive point the finger elsewhere. We should applaud current moorland management practices which are often done in partnership with statutory bodies and others who see the bigger picture. Respectfully. Phillip Walker

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