Moorland Burning

Part of Asylum Seekers and Permission to Work – in Westminster Hall at 5:31 pm on 18th November 2020.

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Photo of Olivia Blake Olivia Blake Labour, Sheffield, Hallam 5:31 pm, 18th November 2020

I thank everyone who has taken part in today’s rowdy debate. I want to quickly clarify a few points, if I may, about the body of scientific evidence. I will quote from the International Union for Conservation of Nature peatland programme’s position statement. The first point states:

“The current body of available scientific evidence indicates that burning on peatland can result in damage to peatland species, microtopography and wider peatland habitat, peat soils and peatland ecosystem functions.”

The second point, which is what I have been getting at, states:

“Healthy peatlands do not require burning” to be maintained. I am not saying for one moment that our moorlands do not need to be maintained, but that the practice of burning creates a self-reinforcing circle. We burn the heather, it comes back, then we burn it and dry it out, and then it comes back. That is why the number of fires has been increasing year on year. Finally, just on identity politics—