IF POLICY makers ‘listen to the science’ they will understand the vital contribution moorland makes in terms of habitat and biodiversity.

The newly-elected chairman of England's Moorland Association, Mark Cunliffe-Lister, who runs Swinton Estate in Yorkshire, began his tenure by declaring that there was a 'tremendous opportunity' to build on the multiple habitat and biodiversity successes that moorland management has already achieved.

“The UK’s moorlands are very special places and we need to do everything we can to make sure they can be treasured by generations to come," said Mr Cunliffe-Lister. "There is a massive commitment by moor owners and land managers to guarantee the wonderful upland landscape is maintained and nurtured.”

Moorland Association members look after 860,000 acres of heather moorland in England and Wales – and more than 60% of England’s upland Sites of Special Scientific Interest are on moors managed for grouse shooting.

Mr Cunliffe-Lister added: “We must continue to highlight all the good work that we see on the ground, backed up with the science, and the multiple biodiversity benefits it brings. Like all land use at a time of heightened environmental awareness, a few of these practices come under scrutiny and sometimes criticism but point to short-term issues. We will demonstrate the long-term gain in terms of environmental and nature benefits important to the public. We will all need to work together alongside the scientists to demonstrate the long-term gains to do our bit tackle the climate emergency."