Which part of ‘please stop burning the grouse moors to ease pressure on the emergency services while they try and cope with a national respiratory virus pandemic’ do they not understand?
Here is further evidence that some moorland managers in Scotland are ignoring the plea for voluntary restraint that was issued six days ago by Scottish Land & Estates.
Why is this still continuing? Because presumably some people think that maximising the number of red grouse available for shooting parties in the autumn is ‘essential’ and because it is still legal to light these fires up until 15 April (and astonishingly, in some cases up to 30 April with landowner’s permission, despite the presence of breeding birds) and because a request for voluntary restraint can easily be ignored.
It could be argued, and indeed it already has been, that these are not deliberately-set fires but are the work of (a) arsonists, (b) out of control BBQs by members of the public ignoring the lockdown and enjoying March picnics in the snow, (c) anti-grouse shooting activists wanting to set up shooting estates, (d) spontaneously combusting heather during this winter heatwave, (e) spontaneously combusting imaginary wind turbines, (f) in fact anything other than the bleedin’ obvious.
This photograph was taken yesterday afternoon and shows a fire on Garrows Estate in Strathbraan, Perthshire (photo by Keith Brockie and yes, he did have a legitimate reason to be driving through this area):
This photograph was taken today. It is the same location as the fire we blogged about yesterday (here) on a grouse moor in Stirlingshire:
Here are some more fires from across Scotland, all recorded since the call for voluntary restraint was made on 25th March:
It’s interesting to note that the Scottish Gamekeepers Association hasn’t made any public statement about asking its members to stop burning. Perhaps this shouldn’t come as any surprise given this organisation’s reaction (here) to the shooting industry’s recent u-turn calling for an end to the use of toxic lead ammunition.
The SGA seems to have other things on its mind just now, moaning about what it sees as ‘unfair criticism, particularly over climate issues’ (yes, really!), and the Scottish Government’s decision to exclude some fieldsports businesses from claiming a Covid 19 support grant. This SGA video is quite something: