I do wonder the last time Mr Liddle visited the grouse moors he rages against (Moor or Less A Desert, 13 August). It certainly wasn’t in the spring, or he would have known that by law burning ends in April - before the breeding season, rather than during it as he claims. Liddle’s fervent criticism of Britain’s grouse moors not only flies in the face of fact, it demeans the hard-working men and women managing some of Britain’s most precious habitat.
Liddle claims that ‘these moorlands are almost entirely devoid of wildlife’, when in truth breeding birds such as lapwing and curlew have thrived on grouse moors as a result of the management practices he criticises. Research has also shown mountain hares to be 35 times more abundant on moors managed for driven grouse.
He talks of 8% of land as if it were a bad thing, yet we are very lucky to have the majority of the world’s heather moorland – an internationally recognised important habitat. The public can enjoy these beautiful landscapes all year round thanks to private land managers investing huge amounts of their own time and resources to look after them.
Last week, Liddle used his Spectator column to state that ‘we are living in a post-truth society’. Those moorland conservationists, busy working for wildlife across the moors of Britain, will read Liddle’s bizarre claims and agree. If he’d be willing to discuss his assertions with those working every day come rain or shine, planting trees, clearing bracken, repairing stone walls and preventing wildfires, we are happy to put him in touch. In the meantime, the GWCT will continue to challenge misinformation in the media.
We have sent Mr Liddle a copy of Moorland Conservationists, in the hope he will appreciate the contribution of good moorland management.