Huge swathes of land set alight - just to maximise its use for grouse shooting
Revive, the coalition for grouse moor reform, is urging the Scottish Government to end muirburn on shooting moors.
The UK government is considering a ban south of the border and the coalition, which includes Friends of the Earth Scotland, says Scotland should lead the way and ban the practice here.
Muirburn involves burning heather moorland to provide optimum habitats for game birds to increase numbers for sport shooting.
The practice is an issue of growing concern due to the increasing extent and intensity of burning on grouse moors, and particularly the effects of burning over deep peat.
Max Wiszniewski, Revive campaign manager, said: “Muirburn is just one part of the circle of destruction created by intensive management on grouse moors which cause significant environmental, social and animal welfare concerns.
“Scotland's vital peat reserves are under constant threat from the damage caused by increasingly intensive muir burning on Scotland's grouse moors and we would urge the Scottish Government not only to follow the UK government but to go further and actually ban this environmentally damaging practice.
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, added: "The climate emergency means that the management of all the peat-rich grouse moorland in Scotland will have to change radically because every sector will have to contribute to national efforts to cut emissions, including in the crucial next decade.
“By allowing land owners to burn land indiscriminately we risk damaging vital peatlands and allowing the carbon it stores to leak into the atmosphere, undermining other efforts to reduce climate emissions.”
A review of grouse moor management practices, including muirburn was ordered by the Scottish Government in 2017 with a view to introducing a licensing scheme for game-shooting estates.
The review, led by Professor Werritty, is due to be published before the end of the year.
Revive coalition partners include Common Weal, OneKind, Friends of the Earth Scotland, League Against Cruel Sports and Raptor Persecution UK.