United Kingdom — A new Code has been published today (Thursday 2August) to help farmers and landowners that use burning as a land managementtechnique to do so safely, responsibly and to protect the environment. NewRegulations that cut red tape and introduce new protection for carbon-rich soilswere also announced. Natural England will be responsible for encouraging goodburning practice in line with the Code and for administering the new Regulationsonce they come into force on 1 October 2007.
Sir Martin Doughty, Chair Natural England, said: “Burning is atraditional practice used by many landowners and, if done sensitively, can playan important part in sustainably managing some of our most valuable habitats andhelping to tackle climate change.”
Natural England has worked with people from over 14 organisationsrepresenting landowners and farmers and voluntary bodies to create expertup-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 BiodiversityAction Plan species and habitats such as blanket bog. It will also help achievefavourable condition on Sites of Special Scientific Interest, particularly inupland England where over 65,000 hectares of moorland are in unfavourablecondition due to burning. Protecting soils rich in carbon, such as upland peat,prevents release of carbon dioxide, helping to address climate change, andreduces the scarring of the landscape.
The code sets a new industry standard for burning. Breaches of theRegulations could attract fines of up to £1,000 and future burning may be morerestricted.