Moorland Burning

Part of Asylum Seekers and Permission to Work – in Westminster Hall at 5:19 pm on 18th November 2020.

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Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 5:19 pm, 18th November 2020

I thank my right hon. Friend for that, and I can agree because I, too, was brought up on a farm and drive a tractor, and have got many a tractor stuck. I know what he is talking about.

Since 2015, Natural England has been working with landowners and managers, as he knows, to help phase out rotational burning where possible. That has included a range of methods. Some estates have signed voluntary commitments to suspend burning—the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam was slightly dismissive, saying that that had not worked, but actually there have been some real successes with that approach. Some estates have agreed to phase out their long-term plans at estate level, and some have consented to try cutting where it is possible.

Natural England has successfully removed 47%— 189 out of 402—of the consents to burn on protected land and, where estates hold long-term consents to burn, many have suspended the practice to enter into new, extended agri-environment schemes. However, that course of action is clearly not protecting every blanket bog site.