I recognise the damage that the practice of burning peat bogs does to the environment.
Our peatlands contain as much carbon as the forests of the UK, France and Germany combined. Despite this, the practice of burning them, and releasing carbon in the process, in order to facilitate grouse shooting, is allowed in the UK.
I don’t believe that people should be allowed to damage the environment in pursuit of a blood sport. This view is shared by Government advisers on the committee on climate change who said, back in January, that peat burning should be banned this year.
The Government has been questioned on this issue on a number of occasions, including at a Westminster Hall debate on 18 November and in written questions, however, they will not commit to a ban on peat burning.
Instead, Ministers say that we must wait until the England Peat Strategy has been published, at an undisclosed date.
I am eager to see what this strategy will entail and whether it will include a ban on peat burning, as the Government’s own advisers have suggested, or whether the Government will further indulge the privilege of grouse shooters, as they did by making them exempt from the ‘rule of six’ coronavirus restrictions.
I can assure you that I will continue to follow developments in this area closely and support a ban on burning peat bogs.