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OPINION: Grouse Moors - Benign Tradition or Eco Disaster?

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Grouse - what it's all about Can grouse shooting ever be compatible with 21st Century environmental concerns? We've asked an opponent of the industry and an advocate for grouse moors to each state their case.

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1
 Gav_92 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Was nice to read a balanced article on the topic. Liked the closing comment. 

Every games keeper iv bumped into whilst walking or cycling has been very friendly and helpful. 

19
 ScraggyGoat 03 Feb 2020
In reply to Gav_92:

Reading the SLE contribution takes me back to Uni Critical evaluation tutorials.......

'The advent of a significant change in culture and very stringent legislation has resulted in the lowest rates of raptor persecution ever recorded.'

Oh look  a false-hood (i.e. blatant lie); see - 

https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2020/01/07/crimes-against-birds-of-prey-in-scotland-double-new-government-report-confirms/

There are plenty of others.....................maybe we can collectively make a list!

Post edited at 09:33
1
In reply to Gav_92:

> Was nice to read a balanced article on the topic.

Be careful with the use of the term 'balanced'. 

Giving two opposing views equal weight doesn't necessarily give a fair representation of either the scientific status or public perception of the subject. 

2
 sandrow 03 Feb 2020
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

For depressing reports of Hen Harrier persecution this is worth a trawl through: http://www.bowlandwildlife.org.uk/?cat=21

Went bouldering to the Bull Stones in May last year and the RSPB were out in force protecting Hen Harrier nests. Isn't it a sad indictment of grouse shooting and gamekeepers that this is necessary?

2
 DaveHK 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Quite clearly its option B 'Eco Disaster'. There doesn't seem to be much credible evidence to counter that. When the grouse moor lobby offers evidence claiming to refute this it is often heavily spun, cherry picked and ambiguously worded.

The question then is not whether grouse moors are an environmental disaster but whether they can be justified by the economic arguments for them.

Post edited at 10:12
1
 AlanLittle 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Not as bad as sheep overgrazing? Black Mountains in South Wales about the most bleak & depressing place I've ever been for a walk.

2
 DaveHK 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

This in particular is an absolute corker:

"The nesting density of curlews on managed moors is double that of unmanaged moors; while nesting success is around three times as high. Similarly, lapwing, golden plover, red grouse and meadow pipit all benefit from predator removal by moorland gamekeepers."

Normally they're actually a bit more subtle than that!

Post edited at 10:43
2
 Andy Hardy 03 Feb 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

I have to say, when I read that sentence, my first thought was that the predators weren't benefitting very much!

1
 Simon Caldwell 03 Feb 2020
In reply to Gav_92:

> Every games keeper iv bumped into whilst walking or cycling has been very friendly and helpful. 

Either you've been lucky, or I've been unlucky. One gamekeeper even made me leave his land even though it was both open access and a public footpath.

1
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

Why did you leave? I suspect the answer might have been he was carrying a gun and was angry and you weren't, so that's a genuine question not an accusation!

1
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I go walking most days in Holyrood Park in the centre of Edinburgh.  I see foxes all the time, tons of rabbits in the summer, occasionally weasels, pheasants, hedgehogs and once a family of otters.

Last summer I walked/camped for five days across the Highlands from Glasgow to Pitlochry.   Apart from farm animals and birds the only animals I saw were some red squirrels.   

The obvious explanation for there being far more wildlife in a city park is that landowners are killing it in the Highlands.

8
 StuPoo2 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Good article for a UKC opinion piece.  

Got the underlying message across, but did so while presenting both sides of this the argument and giving each side equal space on the page.  Kept it civil and unpreachy too.  

(PLUS ... no one trolled the Author ... hurrah!)

Good work Dan!!

1
 StuPoo2 03 Feb 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Is it the obvious answer or are you succumbing to confirmation bias?

  • Is there any possibility foxes exist in significant numbers in cities not because of the lack of people shooting them - but because there is an abundant food source everywhere they look to live off.
  • Foxes, rabbits, weasels & hedgehogs are all naturally evasive in the wild. Is there any possibility it is the urban landscape that forces them into the open when you spot them in the city?  Infinitely easy to spot a rabbit on a mown lawn than it is in 5ft scrub.  There are no street lights in the wild to spot nocturnal foxes.  In the wild animals need only live > 5ft from where you are walking and you stand practically zero chance of seeing them.  
  • The Edinburgh Otters are in the news - https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/news/edinburgh-news/otters-spotted-swimming-central-edinburgh-16389081 .  The otters at Port Glasgow have their own Facebook group.  You are correct, otters in the wild are much harder to spot when we aren't told exactly where to find them.
  • The pheasant in the city surprises me.  Good spot! 
  • As does the red squirrel spot - well done!

While I agree completely with the sentiment of the article ... it does help to keep an open mind on these matters.  

(Cars, flooding, fencing, drowning in fishing nets etc all pose a infinitely larger threat to otters than land owners shooting them)

Cheers

3
 Becs 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

What hasn't been mentioned is that we are paying for this outdated sport through government land subsides, inst it the most heavily subsided meat at over £12 per kilo? That rarely gets eaten. If they are so concerned about being licensed it means they dont want want to operate within even the current lax law.  

Post edited at 14:25
1
 derryclimbs 03 Feb 2020
In reply to Gav_92:

> Every games keeper iv bumped into whilst walking or cycling has been very friendly and helpful. 

The game keeper on the estate I work for is a proper kvnt. Threatens to shoot people (yes seriously), swears loudly at ppl on rights of way, has his dogs running around like crazy and generally scoffs at any of our "airy fairy conservative tosh". Constantly have complaints from tourists about him. And he definitely takes pop shots any red kite he sees, proudly boasting about it. However, he does a great job keeping the pheasants in stock for 'The Shoot' so the landowner loves him.

2
In reply to StuPoo2:

> Is it the obvious answer or are you succumbing to confirmation bias?

I think there's some large systematic factor involved.   I don't think it's just me not being good at spotting them.

> Is there any possibility foxes exist in significant numbers in cities not because of the lack of people shooting them - but because there is an abundant food source everywhere they look to live off.

Obviously, there's a fox dens just across from my flat but in Holyrood park I'm not sure if they're scavenging outside the park or catching rabbits/mice/rats or both.

> Foxes, rabbits, weasels & hedgehogs are all naturally evasive in the wild. Is there any possibility it is the urban landscape that forces them into the open when you spot them in the city?  Infinitely easy to spot a rabbit on a mown lawn than it is in 5ft scrub.  There are no street lights in the wild to spot nocturnal foxes.  In the wild animals need only live > 5ft from where you are walking and you stand practically zero chance of seeing them.  

No street lights in Holyrood park either and a lot of it is fairly typical Scottish landscape.  Not much difference between the side of Arthur's seat and the side of a hill in the Highlands.   I like to walk after dark and let my eyes adjust rather than use a headtorch.  You see far more animals that way.

> The Edinburgh Otters are in the news - https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/news/edinburgh-news/otters-spotted-swimming-central-edinburgh-16389081 .  The otters at Port Glasgow have their own Facebook group.  You are correct, otters in the wild are much harder to spot when we aren't told exactly where to find them.

Different otters, the ones I saw were in Holyrood Park and I was pretty shocked they were there.  Only Googled it afterwards.

> The pheasant in the city surprises me.  Good spot! 

> As does the red squirrel spot - well done!

There's a ton of them on the road along Loch Tay.  Can't miss them.

 guffers_hump 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

the killing of local flora and fauna for game is silly.

1
pasbury 03 Feb 2020
In reply to Becs:

Yes and unfortunately the chances of change are zero under the current government.

1
 druridge 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Try being a hen harrier flying anywhere near a grouse moor for a balanced view of things! These birds are absent, and there is only one reason why, persecution from shooting interests. 

1
 toad 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I think if you are going to mention that "scientific articles" support your position, you really ought to cite them so we can make up our minds for ourselves.

FWIW, I'm fairly certain that the scientific consensus is rather more antagonistic, particularly when it comes to blanket bog restoration, flood management and carbon sequestration. 

I'm not even sure the ground nesting bird picture is as clear as it used to be. 

 Frank R. 03 Feb 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

"Similarly, lapwing, golden plover, red grouse, meadow pipit as well as hen harrier and other predators all benefit from the removal of gamekeepers."

Fixed that quote for ya

And you are right - I was quite surprised at the openness of the original quote as well!

Post edited at 17:43
 toad 03 Feb 2020
In reply to guffers_hump:

> the killing of local flora and fauna for game is silly.

I'm not sure I'm as taxed about elderflowers and blackberries, to be honest

1
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I'm in favour of positive proactive land management where it's needed; to encourage dwindling species, to contribute to flood water management and so forth.  I don't see managing moorland to support a cash crop of grouse as being positive though.  

T.

1
 Tom V 03 Feb 2020
In reply to druridge:

> Try being a hen harrier flying anywhere near a grouse moor for a balanced view of things! These birds are absent.

How many hen harriers have you actually seen ?

I've seen four, three of them while working on a grouse moor. On one occasion a keeper drove me up to the job and pointed out an area where I would most likely see a harrier quartering the moor and a few hours later his prediction proved to be true.

Feel free to dismiss this as an anecdote but every word of it is true and even more surprising is that it took place in the area of the Dark Peak with the worst record as far as hen harrier losses go.

 DaveHK 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Versions of the 'Welcome to the Moor' signs shown in the article appeared on the moors near where I live. They contain some interesting examples of the spin, ambiguous language and half truths peddled by the grouse moor lobby.

"Moorlands are full of wildlife" that particular moor is desolate, you hardly ever see anything on the ground or in the sky. They list several raptor species on the sign and I've never seen a single one. I'm up there on average maybe 3 times a week.

"A globally rare habitat" technically true but nationally it is very common. Also, rarity itself is not a reason for its preservation, I dare say strip mining is a pretty rare land cover globally but we're not going to campaign for its preservation are we?

"Managed for grazing, wildlife and shooting." Note that the most important, the reason for virtually all the practices is placed last. I've never seen any sheep on the moor in question. Any wildlife that survives there does so coincidentally, if it's existence threatened the grouse it wouldn't be there.

"You may also see cages and traps used to control the number of foxes, crows and stoats which eat the eggs and chicks of moorland birds." For 'moorland birds' read grouse alone, this isn't being done for plover.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/gs-waymarking-images/981eba8b-a97a-4b35-8622-49c1621c8639_l.jpg

One claim I'd like to know more about is the carbon storage one, peat moorland certainly stores carbon but how does it compare with the same habitat allowed to return to more natural climax vegetation? I can't really see how the latter could be worse in that regard but I don't know enough about it to say for sure.

Post edited at 19:04
1
 rossBr1 03 Feb 2020
 gaz.marshall 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Thanks for the article, but it's same old, same old.

The SLE discussion contains all the usual greenwash and obfuscation you'd expect from what is essentially a trade union trying to protect its members. If you didnt know much about the subject you might read it and think it was all ok, but with a bit of knowledge it's mainly just a lot of words saying not much. For example, listing the species in a report that have been seen on SLE member estates isn't an argument in support of grouse shooting management if you knew what else might be present in a naturally functioning ecosystem.

A few knit-picky details that irked me:

1. Saying black grouse are declining elsewhere in Europe but doing ok on grouse moors is cherry picking. In Scandinavia their numbers must be approaching the hundreds of thousands and there's no vast grouse moors there. And how come across much of the Highlands their population size and range increase is mainly associated with new woodland creation, the antithesis of management for grouse shooting?


2. Raptor records in the SLE report - SLE Wildlife Estates aren't all grouse estates. E.g. some of them are dominated by management for deer stalking. How do we know these raptor records are anything to do with grouse estates?


3. Including Glen Feshie estate in a list of grouse estates! We all know Glen Feshie cannot be considered anything like a traditional estate managed for grouse shooting. Sure, they shoot a few grouse, but they're the very epitome of modern upland 'rewilding' with huge deer culls and massive woodland expansion. Including them in this list is misleading.


4. When discussing alternative landuses they're conflating the concept of ecological restoration (letting trees grow where nature allows) with forestry (planting and harvesting trees). The REVIVE coalition are suggesting the former, the United govt report is saying much of the land is not suitable for the latter.

I could go on but got bored.

1
 mrphilipoldham 03 Feb 2020
In reply to Tom V:

I've seen one confirmed, on the walk in to  Standing Stones and had an instinctive worry for it's future, given the shot birds found in that area over the last couple of years. An unconfirmed one was just at the top of our road the other day, I saw it for 3 or 4 seconds before it disappeared around a hill and I'm still convinced my eyes were playing tricks on me. 

No one is condemning all gamekeepers, there are obviously some good apples and some bad. The ratio of which is quite hard to determine. I've only ever had one run in with one, and that was at  Running Hill Pits (see why I was worried for the harrier?). That said, there was a successful brood of hobby up on Chunal Moor the other year.. I even saw one! 

 mark s 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I went to burbage south then to stanage popular area a couple of weeks ago.

I could hardly breath because of the so called protectors of the countryside burning off the ground.

 if you are not a grouse you are not welcome on the land. any predator  including raptors are killed without a second thought.

gamekeepers are the chavs of the countryside in my view.

4
 cenotaphcorner 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

For further reading on this subject I would highly recommend Martin Avery's book, 'Inglorious: Conflict in the Uplands'.

'The message of this book is that driven grouse shooting is an unsporting ‘sport’ carried out for the pleasure and the profit of the few, at the expense, socially, financially and environmentally, of the many. If it hadn’t been invented in Victorian times we would never invent it now'.

2
 toad 03 Feb 2020
In reply to cenotaphcorner: mark avery wrote a piece for UK a couple of years ago. It'll comeup in a search

 scoth 03 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

"All land managers comply with the Muirburn Code, established in 2017 by the Scottish government."

Not sure that this could be proved.

I was at a talk last year in Braemar, where many a grouse moor manager was present and we were shown a recent photograph of a steep hillsides in the Cairngorms that was recently burnt. The speaker pointed out that the hillside was steeper than stated  in the code. I assume this is to avoid soil erosion.

All being said, I think the Climate crisis will be a game changer for many a grouse moor. The Committee on Climate Change repoted the other week and specifically said that the Govt. should ban burning on peat straightaway.

To meet net zero targets, this will be a low hanging fruit, when say compared to reducing emssions from aviation, or heating buildings. Politically the First Minister is exposed to this, becasue I'm sure she said that no burning takes place on peat in Scotland during the climate election debate. One only has to go for a walk on tops of the Angus glens to know that burning does take place on peat. Also the Scottish Govt. have a website that overlays peat soils on google earth, one can clearly see the muir burn strips on many a soil classified as peat.

Although it wouldn't prevent burning on mineral soils. And indeed if a new law was enforced to prevent burning (through satelites) maybe the public will still be paying landowners for peatland restoration.

pasbury 03 Feb 2020
In reply to Tom V:

> How many hen harriers have you actually seen ?

> I've seen four, three of them while working on a grouse moor. On one occasion a keeper drove me up to the job and pointed out an area where I would most likely see a harrier quartering the moor and a few hours later his prediction proved to be true.

> Feel free to dismiss this as an anecdote but every word of it is true and even more surprising is that it took place in the area of the Dark Peak with the worst record as far as hen harrier losses go.

I wonder how many of those are still alive.

1
 Tom V 03 Feb 2020
In reply to pasbury:

Now  you mention it, Two of the sightings could have been the same bird a month apart.... 

Post edited at 22:38
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Well done for asking both sides to contribute. The reality is that the shooting lobby use tried and tested lies & misinformation to justify the continued destruction that they cause, and many of those are peddled by Rebekah Strong.

I've spent decades on the moorlands of Scotland and England and I've seen nothing but gradual environmental decline and degradation, and diminishing wildlife.

Yes, the grouse shooting industry contributes £23m quid to the Scottish economy, but Scotland's overall GDP is £170bn. It's a pathetic contribution (about a hundredth of a percent) that is meaningless in any economic analysis. Wildlife reserves (e.g. RSPB) bring in about 12 times more than that whilst using less land.

As for this nonsense about employment, it's painful. In the UK, about 2700 people are employed full time on grouse moors. Let's say that half of those are in Scotland, which has a workforce of about 3.2m...in other words grouse shooting employs a four thousandth of one percent of the workforce - again, completely pathetic.

These two facts alone show what have been called the "spastic economics" of grouse shooting.

As for "numerous scientific reports" showing how amazing grouse shooting, burning and the rest are - it's always worth looking into who has sponsored those reports.

I accept that moorlands need some management, but the continued lie that burning is the only way to stop fires is just more of the same. In the Peak District, Moors for the Future can easily demonstrate that once a moor is "rewetted" by a programme of gully blocking, spaghnum planting and so on, they simply don't catch fire and the biodiversity increases, to say nothing of the improved carbon capture.

The sooner grouse shooting comes to an end the better for everyone, without exception.

2
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

There was one of those "Welcome to the Moor" notices in Glen Esk when I went up Mount Battock a while ago. All I saw were loads of pheasants in the Glen, a few grouse and a pile of about thirty slaughtered Hares on ther summit.

In reply to Frank the Husky:

It’s an interesting question why the Scottish government doesn’t simply ban it outright, given the obvious case for doing so and the way that the Scots are generally a sensible and civilised lot. Why don’t they, I wonder?

jcm

 Rob Parsons 04 Feb 2020
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> It’s an interesting question why the Scottish government doesn’t simply ban it outright, given the obvious case for doing so ...

Both land ownership and land management in Scotland are notoriously in need of reform.

> ... and the way that the Scots are generally a sensible and civilised lot.

Ha! You are Queen Victoria, and I claim my five guineas!

Seriously: there are as many vested interests (and as much money talking) in Bonnie Ol' Scotland as there are in any other country.

 ScraggyGoat 04 Feb 2020
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

The SNP are no longer trying to win votes, they are scarred of losing them. So they are avoiding hard (and arguably an easy) decisions, as governing often results in upsetting some people, losing votes.  In this case the people concerned are well resourced, organised and very effective at lobbying.  I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion the SNP are scarred of the potential for a Scottish Countryside Alliance type movement to develop, orchestrated (as south of the border) by the wealthy right, potentially undermining their rural support. Fergus Ewing (whom is a right wing land-power supporting politician) bizarrely has a cabinet position, which only makes sense as a statement by the SNP to the landed and agriculture sector 'not to worry' .  Other cabinet minsters are regularly wined and dined and had their ear 'bent'  by SLE, GWCT whom have had plenty of time to worm their way into the corridors of power.

Furthermore the SNP won't do anything that may effect the economy not matter how small or even debatable in the case of grousing shooting that economy is. The grouse lobby is regularly telling them it is important, just as they like to tell the public raptor persecution is a thing of the past......I'd suggest both are falsehoods.

Essentially we are in pre Indy limbo on a lot of things..................not forgetting that actually governing effectively undermines the 'we can't do it / be successful because of Weeestiminster' SNP play book.

Holyrood has had the power to act on this for years, and can do so now, the fact the SNP don't, despite 'pokes' in the right direction by the greens is very telling.  Ironically if they did tackle it and re-invigorate land-reform of sporting estates, particularly for environmental and climate benefits  they would probably gain another decade in power.

1
 Eric9Points 04 Feb 2020
In reply to AlanLittle:

> Not as bad as sheep overgrazing? Black Mountains in South Wales about the most bleak & depressing place I've ever been for a walk.

I guess most of us don't regard moorland as farmland but in many ways it is. Most of us don't criticise farming practices for creating "ecological deserts" although they quite clearly do. 

I guess my point is that if we didn't use this land for grouse shooting what else could it be used for that would be financially viable i.e. not a burden on the state, while being ecologically more diverse? If there are better used that the land could be used for perhaps we should be offering some small encouragement to land owners to make the switch.

1
In reply to Eric9Points:

> I guess my point is that if we didn't use this land for grouse shooting what else could it be used for that would be financially viable i.e. not a burden on the state, while being ecologically more diverse? If there are better used that the land could be used for perhaps we should be offering some small encouragement to land owners to make the switch.

It's a good question and one that is being asked, although I have to take minor issue with some of your points:-

Firstly "we" do not use it for grouse shooting, the estates do.

Secondly, the moors need to be ecologically viable first, and then the financial burden can be talked about. I don't mind the state supporting them, as they benefit all of us.

2
 StuPoo2 05 Feb 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

> I guess my point is that if we didn't use this land for grouse shooting what else could it be used for that would be financially viable i.e. not a burden on the state, while being ecologically more diverse? If there are better used that the land could be used for perhaps we should be offering some small encouragement to land owners to make the switch.

And provides the same employment opportunities the existing population that depends upon them.

I agree, finding a viable alternative is probably the answer to this problem but any viable alternative must allow the existing population to continue to live where they are by providing them alternative employment. 

No use turning it into a giant eco-reserve and crashing the rural economy.  That would risk becoming The Clearances 2.0.

5
 george sewell 05 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I have mixed feeling on this as I have grown up in the country and really have no problem with people shooting game (and have enjoyed eating game that has been shot by friends and family, though I dont shoot anything more than rabbits my self ). however driven grouse shooting does seem to have some major issues and is pretty unsporting and expensive form of shooting... the artical would be interesting if it looked in to alternatives such as walked up grouse shooting etc more common in places like Scandinavia (they really love there hunting shooting and fishing in places like Norway ) , where the environment that shooting takes place is less managed and the participent walks in to the landscape to shoot the grouse rather than beeing driven to a grouse but and waiting for the grouse to be beaten towards them haha... just seems a better way to go about it. 

1
In reply to Eric9Points:

> we didn't use this land for grouse shooting what else could it be used for that would be financially viable i.e. not a burden on the state, while being ecologically more diverse?

Recreational Forest. Will soon develop a deer population the Hooray Henries can shoot, sequester carbon (even if only temporarily until it gets cut down), and supports tourism and provides wood for whatever uses you can think of. The problem is that it's a long term game, and the British coporate mindset is often biased towards the short term.

2
 guffers_hump 06 Feb 2020
In reply to toad:

What about Cloudberries!

 Moley 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Toerag:

> Recreational Forest. Will soon develop a deer population the Hooray Henries can shoot, 

Or more likely it would be paid for indirectly out of public taxes, like is now happening. 

A contract worth more than £10million has been awarded to cull Scotland’s deer population.

The arrangement, which is described by Forestry and Land Scotland as “the provision of services to assist in the management of deer and other wildlife”, has been split into five different lots to represent different geographical areas of the country.

Nine firms have been awarded the contract for the north region, worth £3million, with 10 authorised contractors taking on the operation in the east, worth £2.5million of the £10.5million total.

Forestry and Land Scotland has said the operation will be carried out humanely and cost-effectively, adding that the work may spread to include other animals, such as foxes, feral goats and feral pigs.

Culls will be carried out in areas which fall under the Scottish National Forest Estate.

 Forcan Reg 07 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

"The heather landscape we know today owes its existence to moorland management". Well, yes. And that's the problem. The heather landscape on such a large scale is completely unnatural.

 johnjb 07 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles: OPINION: Grouse Moors - Benign Tradition or Eco Disaster?

Take a look at the recommendation on page 96 of the report "Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK", published last week by the UK Government's Committee on Climate Change.
https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/land-use-policies-for-a-net-zero-uk/

"Ban rotational burning in the UK in 2020. This includes burning for grouse shooting. This practice was traditionally undertaken on mineral soils but over-time it has encroached onto peat soils. Burning heather promotes young shoots, which grouse feed on, but it is highly damaging to the peat, and to the range of environmental benefits that well-functioning peat can deliver (e.g. water quality, biodiversity and carbon sequestration). A voluntary cessation of this activity by landowners has not produced the desired outcome so the practice should be banned across the UK with immediate effect. The adoption of more sustainable practices to manage the vegetation (e.g. heather cutting) would still allow grouse shooting to continue on peat soils, while the burning of heather could continue on mineral soils. The ban could be implemented through an amendment to the Environment Bill. "

In reply to johnjb:

You can just see the Tories rushing to enact *that*, can’t you? The public’s had enough of experts.

jcm

 toad 07 Feb 2020
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Yes, but remember Johnson's partner is heavily into animal welfare

 fotoVUE 07 Feb 2020
In reply to StuPoo2:

> I agree, finding a viable alternative is probably the answer to this problem but any viable alternative must allow the existing population to continue to live where they are by providing them alternative employment. 

If the uplands where managed for nature/the planet and recreation, including some walk-up shooting, there would be plenty of new rural employment created and all year round. Mark Avery talks extensively about this in his book, Inglorious.

 Meshach 08 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Do we have to have the pro and anti country sports arguments rehashed at length in a climbing magazine? 

20
 toad 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Meshach:

Yes, as it directly impacts on the walking/ climbing experience

3
 Rob Parsons 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Meshach:

> Do we have to have the pro and anti country sports arguments rehashed at length in a climbing magazine? 

If you're not interested, just ignore the article. What's the problem?

 StuPoo2 08 Feb 2020
In reply to fotoVUE:

Agree 100%.

 PeakDJ 09 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

A good, balanced article about the killing of wild, native species so that people can take pot shots at game for amusement...

 Michael Gordon 09 Feb 2020
In reply to toad:

> Yes, as it directly impacts on the walking/ climbing experience

More importantly, it's of interest to many of us. And should be to others, too.

 druridge 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Tom V:

I've been lucky enough to have seen quite a few hen harriers, none along the barrel of a gun.

 DaveHK 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Meshach:

> Do we have to have the pro and anti country sports arguments rehashed at length in a climbing magazine? 

Did you actually read the article? It's not the regular country sports debate which is largely an animal welfare thing but mainly a discussion of the environmental impacts of grouse shooting.

 Monk 16 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

The pro-grouse moor section uses Glenfeshie as an example of an estate that is working for good. This is completely true, but disingenuous as this estate has rejected traditional practices and is against all that she is trying to defend!


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