BASC responds to Government announcement on heather burning

A worker doing controlled burning

The Government has today announced plans to bring forward legislation for heather burning on protected blanket bog habitats.

In response Caroline Bedell, BASC’s executive director of conservation, said: “The government’s legislative plans sit well within the BASC policy that prescribed heather burning has a vital role to play in moorland management.

“The government’s announcement that licences will be available does not mean they are against tackling climate change but that they are aware of the science behind the increasing risk of wildfires, undertaking bracken control, and the benefits to conservation from moorland management.

“This is not the damaging blanket ban on burning that some have lobbied for, and BASC welcomes the fact that the government has listened to land managers to ensure burning can be undertaken in the right circumstances. However, the question remains how Natural England will interpret any new legislation on the ground.

“BASC will continue to ask that consents to burn can also be obtained for scientific research. We must base our peatlands policies on comprehensive and robust research that understands the long-term impact of different forms of management on the UK’s largest carbon store.

“BASC intends to work closely with Defra and Natural England on producing legislation that is workable on the ground and benefits all land users.”