More moor burning at Moy – it’s simply perverse

The gamekeepers at Moy Estate are continuing to set the moor alight as part of their grouse moor management strategy. Here’s a photo taken from a train yesterday showing a fire on the Moy grouse moors.


This fire isn’t as extensive as the one at Moy we blogged about last week but it’s just as interesting.

Take a look at the right hand side of the photo and you’ll see some wind turbines. These are part of the 20-turbine Moy wind farm, built on the moors of Moy Estate, that became operational earlier this year.

The whole purpose of installing (publicly-subsidised) wind turbines is to create renewable energy and thus reduce the carbon emissions that would otherwise be created from burning fossil fuels.

Isn’t it a bit perverse, then, that the estate has also leased the moors to a shooting tenant whose (probably publicly subsidised) management techniques include the regular burning of heather? By burning the heather, the carbon-rich peaty soil is disturbed and exposed. As the soil dries out, the stored carbon decomposes and releases carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

Oh the irony.

22 thoughts on “More moor burning at Moy – it’s simply perverse”

  1. Why do they burn in this way ? I thought that in England at least, burning [stubble anyway] is banned. How is this allowed ?

    1. They burn in that way because they burn in that way.
      Who is to stop them burning in any way?
      Grouse shooting is exempt from rules and regulations; governments and royalty turn blind eyes.

      Keepers can do what they pretty much like; they cause environmental damage, kill many species of animals and birds – some of which are protected by law – and all in the name of mainly rich men shooting their loads out of their butts, destroying the very thing that all the burning and killing is carried out for – the Red Grouse.
      And often all of this being subsidised by public money.
      In a grouse eggshell that’s about it really.
      But, and it’s a big but, not a rich man’s big butt in a butt, the times they are a changin’ as Bob said.
      The grouse brigade has finally been outed, and in time, a not-too-far-off time, our natural heritage will be managed for the good of it, and not abused by those rich men who like to blast birds out of the air – for their pleasure and no one else’s.

      1. It’s time that these gamekeepers and their bosses had rules and regulations quickly. I live in the south and it is inundated with pheasant shoots. I understand that recently [Ed: name & phone number removed] have been given, by Natural England, a licence to kill buzzards. Suddenly the skies are empty of our buzzards, can’t hear them calling……….heartbreaking. just finished the 4th year of the badger culling , extension in the North Cotswolds and scheduled to continue rolling out until 2014..this is madness and on every level so wrong. plus I will not start on what the Fox Hunters do and their vile terrier men.

    1. But car drivers don’t get public subsidies for supposedly reducing carbon emissions, so they are not comparable in any way.

      1. Does this estate get public subsidy? Or does Dutch company Eneco that leases (presumably) the land on which the the turbines have been built receive the subsidy ?

        1. Does it matter how the money reaches the landowner?

          In a roundabout way, the estate receives money from public subsidy. You’ll be trying to tell us then, that the UK government doesn’t receive any revenue from Income Tax, because it goes to HMRC? Or that DEFRA didn’t have a hand in the Buzzard-killing licences, because Natural England dealt with them?

          1. But the picture that is painted above regrading public subsidies is wholly inaccurate Marco. The Shooting Tenant, and most of those across Scotland, with whom this site has issues (and I’m not an apologist) generally does NOT receive subsidies for Muirburn nor for Windfarms. The tenant sheep farmer on the land will generally receive any CAP payments NOT the shooting tenant so the UK/EU governments.

            1. The article doesn’t mention that the shooting tenant receives public subsidies for the windfarm, and it doesn’t state that muirburn as a standalone technique qualifies for subsidy payments, but it does suggest that the estate owner(s) could have been the recipient of public money, for having windfarms and for land management in connection to driven grouse shooting (of which muirburn would appear to be compulsory). This latter aspect of wider land management could also see the shooting tenant benefit from public subsidy.

              Those facts cannot be disputed.

            2. Sites that have been designated as SSSI/SPA for breeding Hen Harrier in Scotland can and do receive public subsidies for muirburning under the terms of an SNH management agreement. However this is supposedly intended to “compensate” landowners for managing their moors to benefit the harriers by providing suitable nesting habitat, not grouse productivity. Believe that if you like, but I’m sure that’s not how the grouse moor managers see it! They don’t have to justify receiving the payment by allowing monitoring, for example, and even where they do, clandestine persecution usually persists. I don’t know if SNH has changed the rules recently in the light of current understanding. Perhaps they could let us know if that is the case.

        1. Also a lot of car drivers have downgraded to a smaller less powerful car ie 3 cylinder eco car like myself, so have reduced their carbon emissions. Unlike shooting estates who not only burn heather but run diesel land/range rovers etc which produce a lot more carbon. Do the estates owners give a dam about carbon emissions, I don’t think so. Do they give a dam about killing Raptors, I don’t think so. Do they give a dam about anything except there own so called sport. No they don’t. It’s time they were stopped. It’s time the “LAW” stopped them.

          1. Maybe the wind turbines are to offset the CO2 produced by their vehicles and muirburn and in fact this estate is carbon neutral?

      1. They don’t add anything… Except possibly subsidy money from Government for being involved in the renewable energy industry. I find it interesting that wind power is the least efficient, and most environmentally damaging of the renewables (in it’s current choices of technology in use) , but the one that gets the most support. So it does not surprise me the estate has jumped on the “greenwash” bandwagon.

    2. The irony has nothing to do with puiblic subsidy rather the juxtaposition of carbon reduction technology and CO2 producing muirburn on the same estate

  2. If muirburning is so bad why is it being advocated by environmentalists as a means to increase mountain hare numbers under a golden eagle habitat enhancement plan on Dorenell wind farm in Moray? It has also been taking place for years on a mitigation zone at Paul’s Hill wind farm in Moray as a means to “create diversity of habitat and increase the prey base for raptors.” The Paul’s Hill habitat management plan was agreed by a management group which includes RSPB and SNH. The habitat management plan at Dorenell is likely to be endorsed by SNH as well as long as it adheres to the Muirburn Code. So it would appear that muirburn does have some positive benefits.

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