As is by now widely known, Walshaw Moor Estate’s annual burning on the protected “Natura 2000” uplands creates an increased risk of flooding in Calder Valley towns.
This is responsible for around 2.5-5% of the peak flow in Hebden Bridge during floods – roughly the difference between over-topping flood barriers in shop and home doorways, and staying below that level.
The evidence comes in a new study by Dr Nicholas A. Odoni, Honorary Fellow, Department of Geography, Durham University. This shows that the best way of managing the moors in order to reduce the peak flow at Hebden Bridge is to eliminate burning and conserve and restore Sphagnum.
The study found that burning ANY patches on Walshaw Moor Estate (WME) increases the flow peak at Hebden Bridge – meaning that burning should be banned everywhere on WME, not just on blanket bog and deep peat.
I informed WME about this, and asked them to mow rather than burn heather, to avoid increasing peak flows in the valley. They replied that they are,
“currently reviewing practice on the estate to see if we can assist in the reduction of downstream flooding”.
But on 10th October, WME resumed burning – on at least six areas at one time.
Next week, on 18th October, the House of Commons is hearing evidence about grouse shooting, before it sets a date for the MPs’ debate on banning grouse shooting, in response to the 123K plus people who signed the Ban Grouse Shooting petition.
When posting a comment, please will you not swear if you’d like the comment to be published? This is because of Plain Speaker’s comments policy which is to try and be normally courteous. Although I fully understand – and share – the impulse to swear about this.