Government to ban moorland burning – Friends of the Earth reaction

1st November 2019
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release

A Government pledge to ban moorland burning on blanket peat bog has been welcomed by Friends of the Earth.
 
The move follows revelations by Friends of the Earth earlier this year showing that some landowners appeared to still be burning moorland for grouse shooting – despite a voluntary agreement not to do so.
 
Last night in the House of Commons, Environment minister Zac Goldsmith talked about burning peatlands and said: “We are developing a legislative response to the problem”, because “the alternative simply has not worked.”

Blanket peat bogs, a threatened moorland habitat, are one of the UK’s biggest carbon stores, locking up millions of tonnes of climate-altering gases in their deep peat soils. They cover a vast expanse of the country’s uplands, and should be ideal spaces for wildlife. Yet they are intensively managed by grouse moor estates, who burn the moorland heather to maximise numbers of grouse for shooting.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole said:

“As our recent investigation revealed, voluntary measures to stop moorland burning have simply not worked – the government is right to say it will outlaw this outdated and damaging practice.

“Burning on blanket bog is bad for the climate, bad for communities and bad for nature. Ministers now need to legislate for a comprehensive ban on moorland burning, with no loopholes that could let landowners off the hook.

“It’s time to ban the burn.”
 
ENDS
 
For more information and interview requests contact the Friends of the Earth press office on 020 7566 1649 / 07718 394786 (out of hours – please do not text this number) media@foe.co.uk.  
 
Notes to editors: 
 
1. Environment minister Zac Goldsmith told Parliament last night (28 October): 
“Several hon. Members talked about the problem of burning peatlands. There is no doubt that they are right; the Government share that view. There has been an attempt, through voluntary initiatives, to scale back—to reduce and eventually eliminate—the burning of fragile and important peat ecosystems, but that has not proven 100% successful as had been hoped. We are developing a legislative response to the problem and we will come back to the House in due course with our plans. There is no disagreement with the hon. Members who have spoken today about the need to address the issue, but we have to do that through legislation, because the alternative simply has not worked.” 
Hansard
 
2. Friends of the Earth sparks moorland burning investigation:
 
3. About Friends of the Earth: Friends of the Earth is an international community dedicated to the protection of the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. We bring together more than two million people in 75 countries, combining people power all over the world to transform local actions into global impact. For more information visit: friendsoftheearth.uk follow us at @friends_earth, or like our Facebook page