The Moorland Association (MA) has strongly criticised the Met Office system set up to protect some of England?s most precious landscapes from wildfires as ?pitifully inadequate?.

The Association, whose members manage over a fifth of the moorlands in England and Wales, made the statement in the wake of a series of devastating fires across the country, following the UK?s hottest and eleventh driest April on record.

MA chairman Edward Bromet said: ?We have several square miles of peatland habitat ablaze or burned, and yet the Met Office system has not reached its top level of Extreme Risk to trigger the closure of moors to visitors.

?It?s like having a fire alarm in your house that goes off once everything has been destroyed by the fire. The system is pitifully inadequate and we are lobbying hard to get the data re-evaluated and the trigger point lowered.?

Some of the worst fires were in the north of England, where historic landscapes were reduced to black, charred eyesores. As this magazine went to press, high winds fanned flames in the Lake District and West Yorkshire, and fire crews near Belmont on the West Pennine Moors maintained a round-the-clock presence.

Parts of the Scottish Highlands, Wales, Northern Ireland and Berkshire were also affected. A spokesman for the Forestry Commission described a fire in a forest near Ascot as the worst he had seen in 20 years.

The rest of this article appears in 11th May issue of Shooting Times.

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