Walshaw Moor Estate resumes burning – despite flood risk to Hebden Bridge

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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. Continue reading

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New Durham University study finds ANY burning on Walshaw Moor Estate increases flood risk in Hebden Bridge

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A new modelling study and investigation into how annual burning on the Walshaw Moor Estate (WME) may affect high river flows in Hebden Bridge has shown that the most effective way of managing the moors in order to reduce the peak flow at Hebden Bridge is to eliminate burning and encourage conservation and restoration of Sphagnum. Over time, this will allow sphagnum to replace some or much of the cotton and moorland grasses and heather.

Practiced over the whole Hebden Water catchment, this management for sphagnum restoration would reduce the peak flow at Hebden Bridge by between 5%-10%.
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Ban the Burn campaigners’ glorious walk to sadly degraded Walshaw Moor blanket bog

Hebden Bridge residents and business people gathered in St Georges Square at 9am on 12th and 13th August – the start of the grouse shooting season – to protest against the devastation of Walshaw Moor’s blanket bog and other habitats by industrial – scale grouse rearing. They then walked up to Walshaw Moor for a picnic and fun day that included checking the state of the blanket bog. Continue reading

Moorland picnics and fun days

Hebden Bridge people will gather in St Georges Square at 9am on 12th and 13th August to protest the not-so-glorious 12th August, traditionally the start of the grouse shooting season.

It is widely accepted that mismanagement of the Walshaw Moor blanket bogs for intensive grouse rearing has contributed to three severe floods in Hebden Bridge over the last four years, and downstream in the Calder Valley.

Some households and businesses have still not recovered from the terrible Boxing Day flood last year, when the town centre was under up to five feet of filthy water. Continue reading

Grouse shooting: environmentally destructive big business

Grouse moor owners, supported by millions of pounds of taxpayer subsidies, brutally kill and maim a huge number of wild animals and leave vast swathes of precious peatland drained burnt dry and scarred with vehicle tracks. This is all so that unnaturally large populations of red grouse can be nurtured as live targets for ‘guns’. Here are some Animal Aid videos about the intensively-managed grouse moor on Walshaw Moor Estate above Hebden Bridge, ahead of the Inglorious 12th August.

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Big Brexit question mark over EU legal action against UK government for failing to protect Walshaw Moor

Following the EU Referendum vote, Linda McAvan MEP has said it’s unclear what effect the vote for the UK to leave the EU is going to have on the EU Commission’s pursuit of the Ban the Burn complaint about violations of EU Natura 2000 protections on Walshaw Moor Estate.

Linda said that she can’t give a definitive  answer to this question, since all is up in the air, but she guesses that given that EU legal cases are premised on continued EU membership,  she can’t see why the Commission would invest time in pursuing the prosecution if the UK is going to be out of the EU.   Continue reading

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Vote remain! EU Commission has started legal process against UK government for conservation breaches on Walshaw Moor Estate

Here is a reason to remain in the EU – the European Commission has started a legal process against the UK government for:

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Help monitor blanket bog burning on Walshaw Moor – Tuesday 15 March

Walshaw Moor Estate grouse shooting business is burning the blanket bog to such an extent that it is exposing and breaking the surface of the peat. This is not allowed under the conditions of the Estate’s Environmental Stewardship Agreement with Natural England.

Upper Calderdale Wildlife Group are monitoring the burning but they need help. If you’d like to learn how to be a burning monitor, please join them at 2pm on Tuesday 15 March at  Widdop Gate, at the start of the track to Gorple Lower reservoir (on the left hand side of the road coming from Hebden Bridge). Continue reading

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Conservationist Mark Avery tells Hebden Bridge Ban the Burn meeting driven grouse shooting can’t go on

Hebden Bridge resident Myra James reports on Mark Avery’s talk at the Trades Club on 14th October 2015

Conservationist and campaigner Mark Avery came to Hebden Bridge Trades Club to speak to a sizeable audience, hosted by Ban the Burn, about his new book, Inglorious: Conflict in the Uplands and his campaign for driven grouse shooting to be banned. Continue reading

New moorland burning research vindicates #HebdenBridge Ban the Burn campaign

The Moorland Burning Season started on October 1st and carries on until next April.

Over the last two years, Hebden Bridge-based group Ban the Burn has been challenging Natural England’s decision to allow the grouse-shooting Walshaw Moor Estate to burn moorland above the town.

The Estate does this in order to make conditions more suitable for raising red grouse – despite the fact that Walshaw Moor is a protected Natura 2000 Site – an area of peatland and blanket bog that is a site of special scientific interest and home to various plants and wildlife that are protected by law. Continue reading

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