Ban the Burn: Public Protest outside Natural England’s HQ, Sheffield 21st February

Protesters armed with mops and buckets will visit the Head Office of Natural England in Sheffield on Friday to deliver a clear message........DON'T FUND FLOODING.

Millions of £ of public money are currently paid out as “stewardship” to grouse-moor owners who are burning on blanket bog. As well as being detrimental to a designated priority habitat, this form of moorland management decreases the ability of the peat to store water, and the bare ground increases run-off.


Jim Peterken, a Ban The Burn supporter, said,The general public may be interested in the issue that our hard-earned public tax money is being paid to rich landowners to flood us. Grouse moor owners are being paid millions of pounds through the environmental stewardship scheme, to protect the uplands. But they are burning blanket bog and making flooding worse in areas like Hebden Bridge. Not to mention destroying biodiversity.”

BACKGROUND

The BAN THE BURN campaign [1] was initiated after devastating flooding in Hebden Bridge in 2012. [2]. In spring that year, Natural England had dropped a prosecution against Walshaw Moor Estate and signed a twenty five burning consent, covering a significant area of the Hebden Water catchment. [3].   A community learning process was initiated after the floods in Hebden Bridge, resulting in a document “Understanding the Hebden Water Catchment” [4].  Recent research by South West Water shows that restoring blanket bogs can reduce flood risk downstream. [5]

THE CURRENT SITUATION

Natural England undertook an uplands scientific review, which led them to undertake a “guidance refresh process” on burning. The agency now acknowledge that “burning has a range of impacts which are overall negative, and should therefore be phased out” but they are not proposing
a robust response to deal with the problem:- “the process of eliminating burning is going to be gradual in some circumstances”.

The protesters will hand in a letter telling Natural England that action on reducing run-off from the uplands is URGENT to minimise flood risk downstream. Burning on blanket bog should be banned, not subsidised. Stewardship funding should promote the restoration of blanket bogs, not their degradation, and cessation of burning should be a pre-requisite.

References    
1.     Ban The Burn campaign launch
2.     Hebden Bridge floods  , 
3.     Calling the Shots   
4.    “Understanding the Hebden Water Catchment
5.     http://www.southwestwater.co.uk/index.cfm?articleid=11311

CONTACT DETAILS:- e-mail communications bantheburn2012@gmail.com
Phone 07847815926

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