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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Burning ban doesnt go far enough

With climate change supposedly high on the UK's agenda one would have hoped that they could have gone the extra mile to break some age-old traditions in the pursuit of fewer carbon emissions, however that does not appear to be the case.

The Independent reports that ministers have announced the damaging practice of burning grouse moor peatlands will be partially banned in England, but many environmentalists do not believe this measure goes far enough:

Some conservationists cautiously welcomed the crackdown, which will mean shoot organisers will no longer be allowed routinely to set fire to heather on ecologically sensitive sites.

But the ban comes with exceptions, and wildlife experts say more urgency is needed to help tackle the climate crisis.

The ban will apply to blanket bogs – peat more than 40cm deep – on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) that is also a Special Area of Conservation or a Special Protection Area unless a licence has been granted or the land is steep or rocky.

Environmentalists have for many years condemned the practice of setting light to upland peatlands that are rich in wildlife, which is done in winter to ensure grouse have new, more nutritious shoots of heather to eat before they are shot for sport.

But the burning releases carbon into the atmosphere, adding to the climate crisis. The UK has 13 per cent of the world’s blanket bog, which store more than 3,000 million tons of carbon.

Wet bogs also support a range of birds, including breeding dunlin and golden plover.

Advocates of the burning say it protects areas from wildfires, and that differently aged heathers protect threatened ground-nesting birds.

But some experts argue burning makes the land vulnerable to fires, destroys habitats and increases flood risks.

The new ban also does not apply where scree makes up half the land area. And environment secretary George Eustice may also issue burning licences for “wildfire prevention, for a conservation purpose or where land is inaccessible to cutting or mowing machinery”. These licences may last several years.

This is a failure of regulation. There is no justification for setting fires on carbon-rich peatland:

The Wildlife Trusts questioned why the ban was only partial, saying: “If, in some places, the reason they are burnt is to prevent wildfires spreading over dry ground, the best way to stop fire happening is to block ditches and help the peat become wet again.

“It is deeply frustrating that it has taken so long for the government to commit to this – 14 months after it was first promised.

“It will be extremely embarrassing if we are still burning any of our peatlands when the climate conference meets at the end of the year.

“The government’s own advisers say we need to restore all upland peatlands to meet climate targets. So while it’s a tiny step forward, much greater urgency is needed across a huge range of comparably burning issues to protect our wildlife and tackle climate change.”

It is time this government got serious about climate change.
Remember Johnson is not the greatest fan of climate change .I would take it as also his ministers are of like mind.Equally Grouse shooting is a Tory thing to discuss possible donations from clients etc.They will go slowly on climate change projects so not to upset their rich voting clients. Rapid change they do not appreciate.
They prefer to to go slowly so as not to rock the status quo.
Till the time for appropriate good publicity they will go slowly.
When it is time for 'vote catching'times they will move on projects to look good.
This also applies for the COP 26 meeting later in the year.
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