May 22, 2024


RSPB NI at the moment is asking on Minister Poots to implement a right away finish to the burning on peatlands. The name comes following the fireplace on Slieve Donard, which was declared a significant incident on Saturday and brought about intensive injury to wildlife and the setting.

John Martin, RSPB’s head of coverage and advocacy, commented, “We are calling for the Minister to behave urgently to introduce an outright ban on the observe of burning on Northern Ireland’s treasured protected areas, particularly peatlands.

“As a fellow conservation charity, we have been devastated to see the impression of the fires throughout Northern Ireland, particularly on higher Slieve Donard, managed by the National Trust.  These rising and re-occurring fires pose a danger to nature, wildlife and native communities, and should be stopped.”

“The tragic occasion over the weekend demonstrates that nature must be protected now greater than ever. We acknowledge that the DAERA Minister is contemplating toughening penalties for these who deliberately begin fires, however this doesn’t go far sufficient. Statutory bans are coming forth in Scotland as a part of the Werritty Review, and are already in place in England as of January 2021.”

Golden Plover, copyright Ron Marshall, from the surfbirds galleries

12% of the land space of Northern Ireland is roofed by peatland and is one of its most respected habitats. It has a essential function to play in addressing the worldwide nature and local weather crises, nevertheless, of the 242,000 hectares of peatlands, solely 14% is presently unaffected by pressures comparable to grazing, drainage and burning.

Wildlife is struggling because of this. Last week, RSPB NI printed the Birds of Concern Ireland report along side BirdWatch Ireland, which confirmed that birds from upland habitats, comparable to the Mournes, have the best proportions of red-listed species. This contains iconic species comparable to skylarks, golden plovers, snipe and hen harriers.

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Peatlands can also play an essential function in defending communities from native stage impacts of local weather change comparable to flooding, whereas supporting distinctive crops, uncommon wildlife and bettering water high quality.