on 21 December, 2017

The Estate owners and shooting associations are quick to make huge claims of how the work they do benefits the moorland and the environment. What they don’t mention is that they are paid huge subsidies by the Government (that’s our money) to maintain bio-diverse habitats and ecosystems, rich in flora and fauna, but this is not what they are doing. 

What they are doing is creating a monoculture environment based on heather for the benefit of one species - grouse. The so-called traditional management of the land consists of burning and vegetation control. Traditionally, moorland was burnt on a 30-year rotation to create a mosaic of different habitats. Due to the intensity of the grouse, this rotation is now under 10 years and dropping.

Critically, these moors supply up to 70% of the UK’s drinking water, filtered through peat bogs. The management of the land for grouse and heather includes burning more land, more often, including protected peat bogs. Peat was a traditional fuel used by crofters for generations; it burns slowly, even underground and eventually destroys the peat bog habitat and everything that depends upon it.

The increased burning leaves huge patchwork areas where rainwater, rather than soaking into the traditional moorland and peat bogs, can only ‘run-off’ the surface. This is the primary reason why we have seen such a dramatic increase in flooding in our rural towns and villages as the river and flood protection systems cannot cope with the deluge running off the hills.

But even that isn’t it - every one of us is paying higher water bills because the water companies now have to filter the water from the moors, simply because shooting estates burn peat bogs. Burning causes Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) and discolouration of the water.

The Save Me Trust is appalled at the level of taxpayers money that supports the shooting estates and their poor conservation of our rich and diverse natural environment. When you understand the real costs of subsidies, water treatment and the increased risk of flooding, the monetary costs are substantial, but the cost to the flora and fauna of our environment is irreparable. 

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