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by Andrew Couper, Scottish Natural Heritage
Posted on September 27, 2017

Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham launched the latest version of the Muirburn Code at Blair Castle on Friday 22 September 2017.

 

The latest version of the Muirburn Code was launched by Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham at Blair Castle on Friday 22 September 2017.

This version replaces all previous versions and will apply to all muirburn from the start of the new season, beginning on 1 October.

Although the appearance of the Code is rather different from the previous version, the general thrust of it, to encourage good practice, remains the same.

There are, however, some developments of which to be aware:

  • The new Code states that ‘there should be no burning on peatland’.  This has proved quite controversial with some land managers but is consistent with current thinking on the importance of our peatlands as a carbon store.  Burning on peatland can, however, be carried out as part of a peatland restoration plan approved by SNH.  This will normally include measures to raise the water table.
  • The introduction of fire-free buffer zones adjacent to water courses and water bodies.
  • Specific guidance on burning for grazing - it’s not just about grouse moors!
  • Greater emphasis on the potential role of cutting as an adjunct to, or replacement for, burning.

The Code is supported by Supplementary Information which provides more detail on, for example, burning practice.