Environment minister Zac Goldsmith has signalled that the government will take stronger action to prevent the burning of moorland on blanket peat bog.
Blanket peat bogs, a threatened moorland habitat, are major carbon stores and cover large areas of the country’s uplands. Many are intensively managed by grouse moor estates, who burn the moorland heather to maximise numbers of grouse for shooting.
During a Westminster Hall debate last night, Goldsmith admitted that existing voluntary measures aimed at preventing moorland burning on blanket peat bog were not working.
“We are developing a legislative response to the problem”, because “the alternative simply has not worked,” he said.
NGOs have welcomed the statement and are responding as though the government has committed to a full ban.
Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole said: “As our recent investigation revealed, voluntary measures to stop moorland burning have simply not worked – the government is right to say it will outlaw this outdated and damaging practice.
“Burning on blanket bog is bad for the climate, bad for communities and bad for nature. Ministers now need to legislate for a comprehensive ban on moorland burning, with no loopholes that could let landowners off the hook.”