PROTESTERS will hold a mass demonstration against burning moorland for grouse shooting this week, which they blame for causing severe floods in the north.
The Ban the Burn rally will be held in the Yorkshire Pennine town of Hebden Bridge in the Calder Valley on Friday, the so-called “Glorious 12th” — the start of the grouse-shooting season.
Ban the Burn was formed following devastating floods in the region in 2012.
Moorland above the valley is regularly burned to make the land more suitable for profitable grouse shoots.
The deliberate burning has been condemned as a contributory factor to floods which have devastated parts of the north in recent years.
The process destroys plant life — particularly sphagnum moss — which is highly retentive of water. With moss destroyed, in storms and periods of prolonged high rainfall, water runs straight off the moor, contributing to flooding.
The owners of the moorland — Walshaw Moor — above Hebden Bridge are paid £2.5 million in subsidies by taxpayers for their “stewardship” of the moor.
A spokeswoman for Ban the Burn said: “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.”