Since the Climate Change Committee failed to explain how it reached its recommendation that heather burning should be banned on moorlands, we should not be surprised that Defra has decided to review all the evidence and produce its own report (Ministers accused of blocking plans to ban burning of UK peatlands, 20 September).
With lessons from Australia and California about the unintended consequences of preventing controlled winter fires to reduce fuel load, we may need to be far more proactive in preventative burning than we have been in the past, as the likelihood of summer wildfires is increasing.
If we wish to stem the sorts of uncontrolled wildfire we saw on Saddleworth Moor just two years ago, when 200 years of carbon locked in the peat was lost in a single night, it’s time for the government to do more than just rely on the private sector to provide this public service. Those advocating a zero-burning policy have yet to share what their proposed management regime is, who will be responsible for implementing it and how will it be monitored.
GWCT Press & Publications Manager