Over the weekend, Calder Valley again suffered horrendous flooding – the third in eight years.
When Ban the Burn heard that Theresa Villiers, the Defra Sec of State, would be doing a walkabout in central Mytholmroyd on Wednesday between 9am and 10am, we called Craig Whittaker’s constituency office to say we would like to talk to her.
We wanted to ask when the government is bringing in promised legislation to ban peatland burning and to make sure it has no loopholes or exemptions that would allow burning to continue.
They agreed it would be appropriate for us to talk to her.
Ban the Burn and Treesponsibility are among a group of charities, academics and local campaigners with a track record of working on peatland conservation, which has today written to Michael Gove urging him to implement a complete ban on the practice of burning on upland peatland habitats.
A ban is vital in order to protect carbon stores, wildlife, habitats and communities.
We have seen plenty of evidence of continued burning on protected peatland this year, despite the government’s introduction of a voluntary ban on burning.
The lack of compliance with the voluntary ban on burning is likely to worsen, thanks to Natural England’s recent ‘restoration burning’ position statement. Continue reading
The moors above Hebden Bridge are some of Yorkshire’s most iconic beauty spots – and also a vital source of biodiversity, a huge natural carbon sink and a natural means of slowing the flow of pluvial flooding into the Upper Calder Valley – if not mismanaged for grouse shooting.
Yorkshire Water has put them in jeopardy. The company lets out uplands to grouse shooters who decimate the wildlife for sport by trap and gun. Not only this – large sections of heather are deliberately burnt to increase game bird numbers, destroying blanket bog and contributing to flooding in the valley and other sections of the county. By leasing out land for grouse shooting, Yorkshire Water is damaging wildlife, habitat, visitor experiences and the regional economy.
What shall we do? Saturday 11 August is the day before the start of the grouse shooting season. We will hold a respectful protest in Hebden Bridge’s Town Square to urge Yorkshire Water to stop leasing land above the town for grouse shooting. Continue reading
As is by now widely known, Walshaw Moor Estate’s annual burning on the protected “Natura 2000” uplands creates an increased risk of flooding in Calder Valley towns.
This is responsible for around 2.5-5% of the peak flow in Hebden Bridge during floods – roughly the difference between over-topping flood barriers in shop and home doorways, and staying below that level. Continue reading
A new modelling study and investigation into how annual burning on the Walshaw Moor Estate (WME) may affect high river flows in Hebden Bridge has shown that the most effective way of managing the moors in order to reduce the peak flow at Hebden Bridge is to eliminate burning and encourage conservation and restoration of Sphagnum. Over time, this will allow sphagnum to replace some or much of the cotton and moorland grasses and heather.
Practiced over the whole Hebden Water catchment, this management for sphagnum restoration would reduce the peak flow at Hebden Bridge by between 5%-10%.
Hebden Bridge residents and business people gathered in St Georges Square at 9am on 12th and 13th August – the start of the grouse shooting season – to protest against the devastation of Walshaw Moor’s blanket bog and other habitats by industrial – scale grouse rearing. They then walked up to Walshaw Moor for a picnic and fun day that included checking the state of the blanket bog. Continue reading
Hebden Bridge people will gather in St Georges Square at 9am on 12th and 13th August to protest the not-so-glorious 12th August, traditionally the start of the grouse shooting season.
It is widely accepted that mismanagement of the Walshaw Moor blanket bogs for intensive grouse rearing has contributed to three severe floods in Hebden Bridge over the last four years, and downstream in the Calder Valley.
Some households and businesses have still not recovered from the terrible Boxing Day flood last year, when the town centre was under up to five feet of filthy water. Continue reading
Grouse moor owners, supported by millions of pounds of taxpayer subsidies, brutally kill and maim a huge number of wild animals and leave vast swathes of precious peatland drained burnt dry and scarred with vehicle tracks. This is all so that unnaturally large populations of red grouse can be nurtured as live targets for ‘guns’. Here are some Animal Aid videos about the intensively-managed grouse moor on Walshaw Moor Estate above Hebden Bridge, ahead of the Inglorious 12th August.
Following the EU Referendum vote, Linda McAvan MEP has said it’s unclear what effect the vote for the UK to leave the EU is going to have on the EU Commission’s pursuit of the Ban the Burn complaint about violations of EU Natura 2000 protections on Walshaw Moor Estate.
Linda said that she can’t give a definitive answer to this question, since all is up in the air, but she guesses that given that EU legal cases are premised on continued EU membership, she can’t see why the Commission would invest time in pursuing the prosecution if the UK is going to be out of the EU. Continue reading
Here is a reason to remain in the EU – the European Commission has started a legal process against the UK government for: