From: Luke Steele, Spokesperson, Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors.
WHEN it comes to preserving Yorkshire’s iconic moors for wildlife and from wildfires, ensuring they are wetter really would be better (The Yorkshire Post, January 10).
The vast upland spaces which span the Pennine hills are home to half of the UK’s peatlands. It is a travesty that approximately 80 per cent of these globally important ecosystems – which act as the green lungs of the country by storing tonnes of climate-altering carbon, as well as hosting threatened wildlife and plant life – are dried out and damaged.
Grouse moor burning is driving degradation of peatland landscapes, where gamekeepers set fire to habitat covering an area one-and-a-half times the size of Leeds each year to artificially engineer grouse breeding grounds.
The dried out peatland has become a tinderbox which ignites very easily and can burn for weeks. On Saddleworth Moor, where large sections of peatland had been burnt for game bird breeding, the wildfire spread rapidly across the moor and was only restrained when it reached an adjacent conservation area where peatland had been rewetted.
Sensible moorland stewardship can deliver functioning peatlands which sustain wildlife and mitigate wildfire through blocking up drainage ditches, re-planting peat-forming sphagnum mosses and ending grouse moor burning. Where there is a strong conservation case for heather management, a mixture of grazing galloways and cutting suffices. We are pleased Yorkshire Water – the county’s largest landowner – committing to restoring peatlands on its land with a pledge to end burning. This precedent has rightly been followed by the Environment Minister Zac Goldsmith, who has vowed to put an end to peatland burning “one way or another”.
Travel need and demand
From: Sue Doughty, Twyford, Reading, Berkshire.
MONEY is spent on travel according to traveller usage and traveller miles required. Because of high property prices in London, many who work there have to commute from lower cost housing areas (The Yorkshire Post, January 10). Road and public transport usage is much higher in the busy south of England than anywhere else in the UK so more is spent on it there to meet demand.
In Leeds, there needs to be a survey of demand and usage set out independently and the council made to find ways of meeting that need with expectations of growth factored in. A metro system could be one option, but taxpayers need to see cost per mile and demand per mile, plus details of ownership and management oversight, before being asked to pay for it. Devolution of demand must precede devolution of taxpayer funding.