To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps (a) his Department and (b) Natural England take to monitor moorland burning; and whether staff from (i) his Department and (ii) Natural England make regular site visits to assess the environmental effect of that burning.
Moorland burning is a legitimate land management practice where it is carried out in accordance with the Heather and Grass Burning (England) Regulations (2007) and in accordance with any requirement for consent from Natural England where the land is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Natural England monitors the condition of SSSIs, which may be affected by burning, through its programme of SSSI condition monitoring. This includes site visits where it is necessary and appropriate.
Reports of burning made to Natural England are followed up to ensure that the activity is being carried out with the appropriate SSSI consent where that is required.