A new Code has been published today (Thursday 2 August) to help
farmers and landowners that use burning as a land management
technique to do so safely, responsibly and to protect the environment.
New Regulations that cut red tape and introduce new protection
for carbon-rich soils were also announced. Natural England will
be responsible for encouraging good burning practice in line with
the Code and for administering the new Regulations once they come
into force on 1 October 2007.
Sir Martin Doughty, Chair Natural England, said: "Burning
is a traditional practice used by many landowners and, if done
sensitively, can play an important part in sustainably managing
some of our most valuable habitats and helping to tackle climate
Natural England has worked with people from over 14 organisations
representing landowners and farmers and voluntary bodies to create
expert up-to-date advice on how to carry out burning in ways which
benefit wildlife, and protect carbon rich soils. It could help
reverse the decline of Biodiversity Action Plan species and habitats
such as blanket bog. It will also help achieve favourable condition
on Sites of Special Scientific Interest, particularly in upland
England where over 65,000 hectares of moorland are in unfavourable
condition due to burning. Protecting soils rich in carbon, such
as upland peat, prevents release of carbon dioxide, helping to
address climate change, and reduces the scarring of the landscape.
The code sets a new industry standard for burning. Breaches of
the Regulations could attract fines of up to £1,000 and future
burning may be more restricted.
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