Andrew Tyler has revealed his lack of knowledge of moorland management for grouse shooting.

Heather moorland is rarer than rainforest and threatened globally.

And it is thanks to its management for grouse shooting that 75 per cent of what is left is found in Britain, where elsewhere it has been totally lost.

The rotational burning of small patches of heather by gamekeepers produces a ‘mosaic’ or ‘patchwork’ of young shoots for food, while leaving older stands for nesting cover which benefits a unique assemblage of wildlife.

Indeed, RSPB research has shown that some rare upland wading birds are up to five times more abundant on moorland managed for grouse than on other moorland.

Far from harming wildlife, the controlled burning that is undertaken by gamekeepers on grouse moors actively helps prevent the uncontrolled wildfires cause such devastation.

If there is a sustainable surplus of grouse to allow shooting to take place without impacting on breeding stocks, then the income generated is used to offset the considerable cost of the year-round management that goes into looking after this totally wild bird; a bird that is unique to the United Kingdom.

It is no coincidence that because of this management, more than 60 per cent of England’s upland Sites of Special Scientific Interest are managed grouse moors and that many are also designated Special Protection Areas for rare birds and Special Areas of Conservation for rare vegetation under European wildlife directives – the highest possible protection.

ADRIAN BLACKMORE Moorlands Director Countryside Alliance London