A NEW Muirburn Advisory Service has been launched to help sporting estates 'develop, maintain and deliver simple user-friendly muirburn plans in what is becoming an increasingly politically charged' environment around moorland management.

Muirburn is a long-established land management and conservation tool for heather, gorse and grass, regulated under the Hill Farming Act 1946, the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended.

With many moors now considering the approaching muirburn season, commencing October 1, this new service from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust provides an opportunity for managers to review their muirburn practices, particularly in light of the recent Scottish Government commissioned review of grouse moor management which made recommendations for increased regulation of muirburn activities.

GWCT’s professional advisors will help estates through specialist advice to evaluate and manage risk of harm to the environment from muirburn, and to undertake it in line with the revised Muirburn Code and meeting all necessary statutory requirements.

The new service provides three distinct options – muirburn risk-mapping; muirburn planning; and muirburn mapping and monitoring.

GWCT’s senior adviser, Scotland, Hugo Straker, said: “Whilst we have offered advice on muirburn in the past, it has not been formalised in the way that we can now present through the creation of a distinct and dedicated Muirburn Advisory Service.

“In the current climate, with muirburn under increasing scrutiny every season, we believe that this service will provide invaluable support for muirburn planning, as well as assistance with Agri-environment Climate Scheme (AECS) applications.

“It builds on the training that we already offer and is, an important step towards safeguarding this important conservation tool for the future.”

For more information contact the GWCT Muirburn Advisory Service via Mr Straker on 07713 074147 hstraker@gwct.org.uk or advisor Nick Hesford, on 07896 006322 nhesford@gwct.org.uk