Global warming will spark massive moorland fires which would ravage the Peak landscape and harm the area’s tourist industry, according to a new high-profile report on climate change.
The Peak District National Park has been flagged up as a real-life example of the impacts of global warming as part of the eye-opening study put together for the Government. Experts predict that by 2080, the average summer temperature could rise by between three and five degrees in the national park which, paired with lower levels of rainfall, would have devastating consequences for the landscape. A bleak scenario of out-of-control blazes on the dried-up moorlands and a fire service stretched to its limits is painted in the Climate Change and the Visitor Economy report and its leaders are now urging authorities to put together an urgent pollution-control plan. Concern Peak Park chiefs have reacted with concern to the new study, which was produced for the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), but said action is already being taken to slow the damage. Jim Dixon, chief executive of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “The report gives us all cause for concern. “If global warming were to change our environment this would increase the risk of moorland fires and erosion of Peak District peat bogs, one of the most vulnerable environments in the country. “Strong progress to regenerate degraded moorland is already being made through the Moors For The Future Partnership, a Heritage Lottery-funded project established in 2003.” The report, put together by the University of Manchester and think-tank, Sustainability Northwest, also highlights how moorland blazes are often sparked by visitors dropping cigarettes or lighting camp fires and calls for action to raise awareness of the dangers. Mr Dixon added that this was also high on the authority’s agenda. He said: “Local agencies have also formed a Fire Operations Group which is focusing on ways to tackle the increasing risk of moorland fires, including a public awareness campaign. “In addition, a research project funded by Moors for the Future will be focusing on ways to speed up response times to moorland fires and look at ways to get more water onto moorland to fight fires.”