National animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports has cautiously welcomed an announcement by the government today to ban the burning of precious peat habitats.

The League has long supported a ban on moorland burning, carried out in order to support large-scale grouse shooting to the detriment of other wildlife and ecology.

The new regulations will prevent the burning of ‘any specified vegetation on areas of deep peat (over 40cm depth) on a Site of Special Scientific Interest that is also a Special Area of Conservation or a Special Protection Area unless a licence has been granted or the land is steep or rocky’.

But the League is urging Defra to go further and introduce a wider ban on moorland peat burning and return England’s habitats to their natural ecosystems.

The League’s campaigns director, Chris Luffingham, said: “This is a welcome move from Defra, important not only for the environment but also for the many species that live on this precious moorland.

“Moor burning is just one way in which the commercial shooting industry is a destructive influence on our landscape and our ecology.

“With more people than ever appreciating the importance of the natural world and protecting it for generations to come, this move from the government will be welcomed by most.

“However, we would invite the government to go further and extend the regulations to protect more moorland.”
Robbie Marsland, Director of The League Against Cruel Sports in Scotland, invited the Scottish Parliament to follow DEFRA in banning the practise.

He said: “Burning heather on grouse moors is done for one reason - to increase the number of grouse to be shot. We welcome DEFRA’s commitment to reduce it in England and call on the Scottish Government to do the right thing and ban muirburn - for good”.


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For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected]

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).