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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-23258: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 16 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of large-scale wildfires in recent years, whether it is planning (a) any further regulation of muirburn and (b) on making full compliance with the Muirburn Code a statutory requirement.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 30 May 2019

In the meantime, it is extremely important that land managers adhere to the Muirburn Code and its associated statutory requirements and that all members of the public exercise care to avoid accidentally causing wildfires, especially in dry conditions. Anyone who has reason to think an offence has been or is being committed should report it to Police Scotland.

The Grouse Moor Management Group, chaired by Professor Werritty, is examining the environmental impact of grouse moor management practices including muirburn and its report is expected later this summer. It would not be sensible to commit to further regulation or to changes to the status of the Muirburn Code in advance of receiving Professor Werritty’s report.

The Muirburn Code, which was recently reviewed and updated, provides best practice guidance for the burning and cutting of vegetation. The Code also sets out existing statutory requirements and offences relating to muirburn. It has been estimated that over 50% of wildfires are caused by muirburn amongst other accidental, careless or criminal actions.