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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the responsible management of heather moorland to minimise the risk of uncontrollable wild fires; and if he will make it his policy to include controlled burning in accordance with the Heather and Grass Burning Code as part of that management.
The Government and its agencies are working with moorland owners, land managers and their representatives to put in place long term management plans and stewardship agreements to restore the hydrology and vegetation on degraded blanket bogs. Raising water tables and increasing the coverage of sphagnum moss allows the processes of recovery that store carbon and reduce the risk of ignition of these habitats by wildfire. The risk of severe damage by wildfire on a wet, well functioning blanket bog is relatively low. In accordance with the Heather and Grass Burning Code, managed one-off burning or cutting firebreaks may help to reduce the risk of fires starting on other habitats such as dry heath, and reduce the spread of fire around likely ignition points.