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frankydiver
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They aired a version of the "report" on the news on Radio 2 earlier as well, had my mrs and 5 yr old in the van with me at the time so I only managed to grumble an abridged version of my opinion.

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what i seen of it you cant burn peat over a certain depth and the peat that was on fire was over that depth so buy burning it they are now calling for a total ban on burning if it is true they have shot there selves in the foot

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35 minutes ago, London Best said:

Keepers don’t burn peat. They burn the old heather off the peat.

As above the whole idea of burning heather is to get a fast hot burn to take the tops off the old heather and let the light in so new seeds and growth can succeed. Thats is why you need a fair wind but not too much you can't control it.  It is carefully burnt in strips so there is old heather to nest in and new shoots for the chicks. 

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From what I've heard it appears that burning heather on peat that is more than 300mm-500mm deep is to be banned completely. Peat is now considered the UK's rainforest and an highly effective carbon sink. It is desirable to maintain wet peat.  Drainage channels are to be blocked and peat diggings are to be capped, burning heather is being blamed for increasing run-off whilst the practice of draining and planting moorland to trees will also cease... the thing that worries me is that without management the heather will grow long and woody and be more susceptible to wild fires. There is a large amount of funding available to conserve/bring back the moorland to its unmanaged state, we will see.

As an aside, I also noticed that sheep are being blamed for predation ? and trampling of ground nesting birds and their eggs, if this is proven then the uplands of the UK will be seeing a real change in the not to distant future

Edited by islandgun
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Moor management involves burning off old lanky heather to allow new growth.  If done correctly, the peat is undamaged, but it does need to be done regularly because IF the heather gets too old and 'woody' the risk of the fire getting too hot and then actually burning the peat increases. 

Getting a good and safe burn is a very skilled business and keepers in Scotland and no doubt other areas form a team from several local estates and help each other to ensure the burn if fully kept under control - and the new young keepers learn from the older more experience staff.

IF the heather is not burned regularly in a controlled manner, it grows very dense and thick, and 'woody' stemmed.  This makes it difficult to control and put out with the rubber beaters they use.  Where moors have been left to 'rewild', inevitably fires do occur through lightning, pick-nickers and campers, discarded cigarettes, malicious arson etc. and the fire is difficult to put out and gets hot enough to ignite the peat - which can be disastrous as the peat takes generations to recover after a deep peat fire.  These fires also tend to occur ikn high summer when they do most damage to the wildlife and ground nesting birds.

Regular management by skilled controlled burning out of nesting season is essential.

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