Relaxation of muirburn ban in Scotland

The 2020/21 muirburn season got underway last week following a recent decision taken by the Scottish Government to relax the temporary muirburn ban that was imposed on the 1st April as part of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act.

The muirburn season, which runs from the 1st October to the 15th April and covers the controlled burning of heather, gorse bushes and grasslands, was cut short earlier this year when the Act came into force. However, the Scottish Government’s decision means that the 2020/21 season can go ahead as normal, although Ministers reserve the right to reinstate the ban should Scotland revert to a full-scale national lockdown.

The relaxation of the muirburn ban in Scotland provides an excellent opportunity for estates to evaluate their muirburn programmes in line with relevant legislation and best practice. This is particularly important in light of the recent Scottish Government commissioned review of grouse moor management which made recommendations for increased regulation of muirburn activities.

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust recognises the importance of muirburn as a land management and conservation tool and earlier this year launched a new Muirburn Advisory Service to help estates develop, maintain and deliver simple, user-friendly muirburn plans.

Hugo Straker, GWCT Senior Advisor, says “We welcome the decision by Scottish Government to relax the temporary ban on muirburn in Scotland.

“In what is becoming an increasingly politically charged and sensitive environment, being able to demonstrate proactive movement towards sustainable muirburn management is essential.

“Through our Muirburn Advisory Service, our professional advisors can provide specialist advice to help evaluate and manage risk of harm to the environment from muirburn activities, ensuring that management complies with the revised muirburn code and meets all necessary statutory restrictions.”

For more advice regarding muirburn or for support with muirburn planning and preparation, please contact the GWCT Muirburn Advisory Service via:

Hugo Straker

Senior Advisor, Scotland 07713 074147 hstraker@gwct.org.uk


Nick Hesford

Advisor, Scotland 07896 006322 nhesford@gwct.org.uk

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