Moorland: Environment Protection

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 22nd February 2019.

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Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Independent, Penistone and Stocksbridge

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Natural England’s initiative to secure voluntary commitments from upland landowners and managers to suspend the rotational burning of blanket bog habitat in England, how many voluntary commitments were (a) requested by Natural England, (b) made without amendment, (c) made with amendment, (d) refused by the rights-holder and (e) are outstanding.

Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Independent, Penistone and Stocksbridge

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Natural England’s initiative to secure voluntary commitments from upland landowners and managers to suspend the rotational burning of blanket bog habitat in England, what area of deep peat soils is estimated to be located on those estates that have made a voluntary commitment (a) without and (b) with amendment.

Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Independent, Penistone and Stocksbridge

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Natural England’s initiative to secure voluntary commitments from upland landowners and managers to suspend the rotational burning of blanket bog habitat, what area of deep peat soils is estimated to be located on those estates that have (a) refused to sign and (b) not yet signed a voluntary commitment.

Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Independent, Penistone and Stocksbridge

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Special Areas of Conservation in England, how many consents or permissions to burn blanket bog Natural England is seeking to (a) modify and (b) revoke in order to end the practice of burning in that globally important habitat.

Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Independent, Penistone and Stocksbridge

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Special Areas of Conservation in England, how many consents or permissions to burn blanket bog Natural England has successfully (a) revoked and (b) modified to secure the permanent cessation of burning that globally important habitat.

Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Independent, Penistone and Stocksbridge

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Special Areas of Conservation in England, how many consents or permissions Natural England has issued for the practice of restoration burning; and in which Special Areas of Conservation those consents or permissions have been issued.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This is a devolved matter and the below relates to England only.

In February 2018, 213 Voluntary Commitments (VCs) were sent out to landowners. 157 VCs were returned signed, 19 returned refused to sign, and 37 are outstanding. By signing a VC, the landowner or manager is agreeing to suspend rotational burning on blanket bog habitat, as opposed to deep peat soils, and to work with Natural England (NE) to develop Long Term Management Plans or equivalent remedies to modify or revoke any consent concerning rotational burning. The VC is the first step towards the cessation of rotational burning on blanket bog.

To date, NE has revoked or modified 124 consents or permissions by developing Long Term Plans or equivalent remedies such as Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) Revisions, HLS Extensions or voluntary surrender. In total, NE are working to modify or revoke 402 consents or permissions to rotationally burn on blanket bog habitat designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).

NE have issued 6 consents for restoration burning on the following blanket bog Special Areas of Conservation: 2 in the South Pennines SAC and 4 in the North Pennines SAC.

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