17/11/2020

It would be madness to legislate against heather burning before we understand what the effect would be: Our letter to The Telegraph

Dear Sir,

Comparing the release of carbon from peatland to that of lorries (News, November 17) illustrates just how important it is to protect these vast natural carbon stores. However, if we are to halt this alarming release into the atmosphere we will need to tackle the primary causes; farm crops, grassland and forestry. Curiously, the RSPB chose not to address these sources, which together produce over 90% of the peatland emissions in England.

Instead it called for the ancient practice of burning small strips of heather, above the peat, to cease. Since this is one of the few tools available to mitigate the risks of devastating wildfires, which can burn down through to the peat below, sometimes releasing 200 years of stored carbon in a night, it would be madness for us to legislate against heather burning before we really understand what the effect of this would be – perhaps only increasing emissions.

Andrew Gilruth
Director of Communications
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

The Moorland Balance
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