October 23: Smoke and mirrors over burning of moorland

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From: Alfred Penderel Bright, Station Close, Dacre Banks, Nr Harrogate.

ON what I would describe as a pleasant autumnal afternoon, my daughter and I set off on what we hoped would be a scenic drive above Greenhow near Pateley Bridge. As soon as we reached the brow of Greenhow hill and surveyed the normally beautiful panoramic views, we were confronted with thick smoke in every direction and we actually counted four separate moorland heather fires stretching from Heyshaw Moor across to Hebden Moor. It was such a depressing sight that we decided to return home which involved driving through acrid smoke.

How can this heather burning still be allowed to persist when it is now widely recognised that the environmental damage to the peat base and its natural drainage properties are adversely affected plus of course the damage to our air quality?

I watched a programme on television only recently which featured the flood prevention measures in the Pickering area and involved replanting heather and other moorland plants which help to slow the water run off from the moors and reduce the risk of flooding in the valleys below. Does the so-called “sport” of grouse shooting for the well- heeled few warrant this selfish disregard for the rest of the country dwellers?