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Management vital to Moorland Environment - Countryside Alliance

Heather burning is an important tool of moorland management the Countryside Alliance has said, following a report that suggested the practice might contribute to global warming.

The research from Leeds University, entitled the EMBER report, suggested that heather burning on moorland, has negative impacts on peat hydrology, peat chemistry and physical properties, river water chemistry and river ecology.

Countryside Alliance director of shooting, Adrian Blackmore said: "We welcome this piece of research into the environmental impact of moorland burning which can be used to help inform best practice in the field.

"Heather burning has been a crucial management tool in the uplands for more than a century, providing significant benefits to wildlife by creating a mosaic of different-aged heather that provides food and protection for many species of threatened ground nesting birds.

"Cool controlled burns, as carried out in accordance with Natural England's Heather and Grass Burning Code can also significantly reduce the risk of uncontrolled wildfires, and help prevent their considerable impact on wildlife and the environment.

"An enormous amount of consensus on how peatland restoration can best be achieved has recently been reached between all interested parties, and it is important that the considerable advantages that can arise as a result of controlled burning continue to be taken fully into account when considering its potential disadvantages, and a sensible balance reached".

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