Government reviews have found no link between flooding and burning: our letter to The Guardian

In George Monbiot’s celebrated book No Man’s Land he describes tourists in Africa as ‘aristocrats who shape the lives of local people and how they use their land’. He might have said the same of this country.

Our beautiful countryside, visited by millions, has also been carefully shaped over thousands of years by the communities that look after it. George Monbiot forgot to mention that controlled winter heather burning (Opinion, 12 February) has been used for thousands of years to create and protect our open heather moorlands.

It’s bizarre he also failed to mention that successive Government reviews have found no link between flooding and this type of burning, the sort promoted by the Green Party in Australia to control wildfire risk.

Burning now joins a growing list of things he no longer wishes to see when visiting the countryside, including the sheep and cows that have been part of our countryside since Neolithic times. Has he become an aristocrat? 

Andrew Gilruth
Director of Communications
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

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at 10:42 on 19/02/2020 by David Ramsay

It is very sad that The Guardian has become an inaccurate source of information and worse that it is promoting stupid and unsupportable allegations on moorlands. sadly this once famed newspaper has become a tool of the Left.

Calder Valley Flooding

at 13:29 on 18/02/2020 by Phillip Walker

Dear Sir / Madam. This is a fascinating and beautiful part of England. An area very much in the news and often referred to Mr Monbiot. The major towns affected by flooding are Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Elland and Brighouse. The Calder Valley is a long steep sided Valley for a significant part of its length before ‘tapering’ off. It also has a number of other sizeable tributary rivers and steep sided valleys meeting it at a number of points along its length. All all situated in the South Pennines and therefore the topography is primarily moorland running upto about 1500 feet. We are in the West and therefore on the wetter side of the country. For months the moors have been wetter than normal and at saturation point. Where shooting and heather burning occurs Mr Monibiot quickly points the finger of blame despite the considerable work which has been undertaken by owners and even voluntary groups including the National Trust. Ther has also been significant work undertaken by Yorkshire Water, Moors for the Future and other landowners over many years to block ‘Grips’, and restore and create wet spots..This work has taken place throughout the upland collective area draining into this Valley. It no doubt contributes to managing the flood threat and slowing the flow. They are measures which also improve habitat and lend themselves to providing areas for Curlew and other iconic birds which ustilise it- particularly in the spring and early summer. However, the Guardian and other groups often highlighted by the author such as Ban the Burn fail to acknowledge this work, and the majority of other moorland I highlight which forms the Calder Valley which is not shot over. They appear to focus on one estate and heather burning. Recent floods have nothing to do with heather burning and driven grouse shooting. We are living in a new age where science acknowledges we will have a wetter and volatile weather systems. Mr Monbiot and others with a larger agenda are foolish and naive in appearing not to see and acknowledge the bigger picture throughout this area. These areas also contributed to the floods, and no burning perhaps save for wild fires occur, and we know managed burning has a place in minimising the risks, and fire fighting strategy where wild fires occur. It is also interesting to note that other flooding has occurred in other parts of the country where there is no Grouse Moor withinin a hundred miles or more. I feel for the many victims of the floods and it is morally wrong to add to their woes by taking aim at untruths. Heather burning and management of heather is not and never will be a significant factor in flood management. Respectfully. Phillip GP Walker. Halifax

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