More burning restrictions on some grouse moors in northern England

The Guardian has published an Observer article (see here) claiming that ‘grouse shoots scrapped as heather burning is banned on moors’.

Unfortunately the headline is quite misleading. The article relates to some land in the north of England owned by three landowners (Yorkshire Water, United Utilities and National Trust) but there’s no evidence that grouse shooting has been ‘scrapped’ there.

It’s also a bit confusing, throwing around terms such as ‘banned’ and ‘outlawed’, possibly in relation to what is referred to as ‘routine burning’ but then says that written consent is available to some tenants (for routine burning or occasional burning? And how is this defined?), although perhaps this is in relation to historical leases still in play.

The article also says that, in relation to the coronavirus outbreak, the water companies have said that ‘all burning must now cease until further notice’, which we already knew (see here) but ‘until further notice’ suggests that they may permit burning again in the future, right? Or is this simply referring to occasional burning as opposed to the ‘routine burning’ mentioned above?

Whatever, despite the embellished headline and blurry story line, the fact that three major landowners are imposing some sort of restriction on grouse moor burning across the English uplands is really very good news. As Mark Avery has written (here), it is another step in the right direction of travel towards an end to driven grouse shooting and for that reason is warmly welcomed.

Well done Yorkshire Water, United Utilities and National Trust.

7 thoughts on “More burning restrictions on some grouse moors in northern England”

  1. Credit to all those who have kept up the pressure on this ludicrous practice. Delighted that Yorkshire Water, United Utilities and the National Trust have seen sense. Hopefully not too long before the annual inglorious grouse slaughter is consigned to the history books.

  2. What would we do without RPUK? I’m serious. This particular blog is an articulate and useful interpretation of the facts, some of which are not pleasant to read. However with the current team in charge I can’t help but hope that driven grouse shooting will eventually succumb. Then the fight will hopefully continue to ban ALL grouse shooting (and hopefully all introduced game birds) shooting.

  3. Yes, the word “routine” caught my eye too..looks like a euphemism for “.traditional” . Which means business as usual for many …never understimate the power of that word, traditional, to these people, its their excuse and driving force for every criminal and to us, senseless, act.

    1. I agree with you, Dave, and over many years I’ve found, with very few exceptions, that gamekeepers are essentially unfriendly towards outsiders from the towns. For a few years some time ago, I visited a local pub, usually within earshot of their tables. What a cheerful bunch they were, especially when the conversation turned to how much they hated predators, including of course Ravens (not truly predators) and Hen Harriers. That was what triggered me to start looking more closely at local grouse moors. That was several decades ago, and apart from hen harrier biology, the main thing I learned was that in a gamekeeper’s lifetime, nothing ever changes!

  4. ……. particularly when linked with their perceived ‘entitlement’ to do as they wish whenever and wherever!

  5. It’s a bit of a sloppy article, especially when you consider how convoluted a lot of the current ‘rules’ are surrounding burning. To confirm, an estate or shoot could potentially claim ‘one off’ burning, if they frame it as necessary to restoring particular areas of the moor. This will really test how serious the national trust and others are about enforcing this, because we saw how many estates burned after signing voluntary agreements not to.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: