Less than three years after its launch, the Government?s nature advisory body Natural England (NE) has scrapped its 50-year vision for England?s uplands. The document Vital Uplands was heralded as the roadmap for NE?s work affecting grouse moor management.

In particular, the document focused on reduction of CO2 emissions generated by rotational heather burning. NE stated that erosion, oxidation and burning together made CO2 emissions from moorland annually comparable to those of the aviation industry. Martin Gillibrand, secretary of the Moorland Association, which represents grouse moor interests, was critical of NE at the time, saying in 2009: ?It is good that NE is taking time to consider the optimum state of the uplands in 2060. It would be better if it recognised what a fantastic asset we now have in our managed heather moorland and committed itself to building on that asset.?

In a statement last week, NE said: ?Our vision has never been accepted by everyone that we need to work with to make it happen. We have decided we should signal a clear move away from a document which has been interpreted by some as a Natural England policy statement.? The coalition Government has told NE to work more effectively with upland communities.

The rest of this article appears in the 18th April issue of Shooting Times.

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