21/4/2021

Planning Muirburn in Scotland

Muirburn, which covers the controlled burning of heather, gorse bushes and grasslands, is a vital conservation and land management tool. As a necessary part of red grouse management, it helps create a structural habitat mosaic that provides food and habitat for grouse and can be beneficial to a range of other moorland species, including mountain hare, golden plover, and merlin.

Nevertheless, with the close of the principal muirburn season (1st October – 15th April) last week, burning may have been pushed from the mind of wildlife managers and gamekeepers across Scotland until the season reopens again in October.  However, planning your muirburn programme for the coming Autumn now, provides an excellent opportunity for estates to evaluate their muirburn practices.

This is particularly pertinent in light of the Scottish Government’s declaration of its intention to licence muirburn activities, regardless of the time of year it is undertaken. Although the detail of such a licence remains to be seen, we can be confident that monitoring of muirburn activities through muirburn plans, will become an essential component for any estate wishing to carry out muirburn in future. These plans should detail why, when and how you will conduct your muirburn, and include maps which document and monitor muirburn actives (e.g. locations of ignition points), illustrate high-risk areas and no-burn zones.

Muirburn 1

Our expert advisors will work with you to build a comprehensive muirburn plan tailored to your needs.

Last Autumn the GWCT launched it’s Muirburn Advisory Service, a bespoke service designed to support estates in developing and monitoring simple and user-friendly muirburn plans. The new service offers a number of options. From providing mapping and monitoring of muirburn activities to developing more comprehensive muirburn plans, we can provide specialist advice to help evaluate and manage risk of harm to the environment and ensure that management complies with best practice and meets any statutory restrictions.

Muirburn 2

We  provide specialist advice to help evaluate and manage risk of harm to the environment from muirburn activities

Details on options and pricing can be found on our website. Alternatively, if you have any questions about GWCT’s Advisory Services, or to book an initial consultation, please do not hesitate to get in contact with our Advisory team.

Hugo Straker - Senior Advisor, Scotland

Tel: 07713 074147  Email: hstraker@gwct.org.uk                                               

Dr Nicholas Hesford - Advisor, Scotland

Tel: 07896 006322 Email: nhesford@gwct.org.uk

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