How moorland heather burning is safe and RSPB criticism over threat to environment unfounded – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Mark Cunliffe-Lister, Swinton Estate.

Heather burning continues to divide public opinion.
Heather burning continues to divide public opinion.

THE RSPB’s call to members of the public to report heather burning on moorland is unnecessary, deliberately controversial and likely to provoke further abuse of gamekeepers (The Yorkshire Post, February 2).

It is not true to say that controlled vegetation burning is a major source of emissions from areas with peaty soils. The Government’s own statistics show that less than three per cent of emissions from peatland are from controlled vegetation burning.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

By contrast 86 per cent of peatland emissions are from lowland peat which is used for agriculture. The peat itself is not affected by the fire as only the tops of the vegetation are burnt, with the fire being quickly extinguished. Ongoing monitoring suggests that a controlled fire offers long term benefits for carbon storage and biodiversity.

Heather burning continues to divide public opinion.

Controlled heather burning through the winter seeks to mitigate uncontrolled wildfires in the summer that do burn the peat. Without vegetation management the severity of a summer wildfire – such as at Saddleworth, Winter Hill and Marsden Moor – is significantly increased, resulting in a devastated landscape and catastrophic CO2 emissions.

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app, receive exclusive members-only offers and access to all premium content and columns. Click here to subscribe.