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Importance of controlled heather burning reinforced in Westminster as Olivia Blake MP let down

Olivia Blake MP seems like someone who means well, but today she has been hugely let down by whoever briefed her ahead of the Westminster Hall debate on burning.

Olivia simply did not know her facts; she recited a briefing paper, no doubt written by the public affairs team of the RSPB which is led by former Labour staffer, Adam Barnett. Clearly nervous, she failed to make her points succinctly.

By contrast Robert Goodwill, Robbie Moore, Jim Shannon and Sir Edward Leigh spoke from the heart and with genuine passion and respect for the environment and communities that live on and around our moors.

They did not fluff their lines because they had no lines to memorise. They knew the reality of moorland management and they could talk with sincerity, passion and respect for all.

Sir Edward Leigh said what everyone else was thinking – the RSPB had simply tried to politicise the issue of moorland management and burning.

Today the RSPB were found out for that and they made those Labour MPs supporting them look ill-informed and ignorant in the process. Let’s hope those MPs now accept the invitations of countryside organisations to visit the moors near them and see for themselves the benefits brought by moorland management. Let's also hope they think twice before taking on an RSPB briefing without questioning its validity and purpose.

The RSPB’s politicisation of moorland burning, under the leadership of Beccy Speight and Kevin Cox, has been as disgraceful as it has been dangerous. It also begs the question just how much public money did the RSPB waste on all that campaigning with social media ads? You would think an embarrassment of this proportion would lead to resignations.

To rewatch the full debate please see the following link:


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