BASC is reassured by comments made by Environment Secretary Michael Gove in a letter to the association.

BASC wrote to Mr Gove last month to highlight how managing the uplands for grouse shooting can prevent wildfires.

In a letter of response, he said he “very much” appreciated the work that gamekeepers and grouse moor managers were undertaking to help fire crews in dealing with the wildfires and restoring peatland that has been historically damaged.

He also said Defra would keep a close watching brief on the issues raised by BASC and would be monitoring the environmental impact on the moors.

Christopher Graffius, BASC’s executive director of communications and public affairs, said: “We are grateful to Mr Gove for taking the time to respond to our letter.

“We are reassured by his comments and glad he has acknowledged the work of gamekeepers and grouse moor managers.”

BASC chairman Peter Glenser QC said: “This is another example of the excellent working relationship we have with politicians of all backgrounds and our strong links with government.”

BASC sent Mr Gove a copy of its white paper ‘Grouse Shooting and Moorland Management’ which contains references to peer-reviewed papers on the use of controlled burning and firebreaks.

BASC’s original letter explained that gamekeepers – who have helped firefighters tackle the blaze on Saddleworth Moor – are directly responsible for the management of heather moorland which is rarer than rainforest.

Gamekeepers use rotational burning and cutting to manage vegetation which acts as strategic firebreaks and can therefore reduce the risk of wildfires.

BASC has published an infographic which highlights the benefits of grouse shooting for land management, conservation and fragile rural economies.

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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