Why is an otherwise balanced article on the importance of peat bogs (‘It has become them and us’: the battle to burn England’s moorlands, 1 May) framed by the grouse moor landowners’ point of view, beginning with the title and ending with a gamekeeper’s claim that without grouse moors the Yorkshire Dales “wouldn’t be beautiful”?
Burning what is recognised as the UK’s equivalent of the Amazon rainforest – upland peat bog – in order to provide a tiny elite with as many grouse as possible to kill strikes the majority as an absurdity. To claim the dales would be aesthetically barren without driven grouse shooting adds insult to injury.
Dr BEJ McLeod
Chair, Friends of the Dales
Your interesting piece on the burning of England’s peat bogs for use by people to shoot grouse reared specifically for that purpose raises a fundamental and rarely asked question: how can 40m acres – two-thirds of England – still be owned by the landed gentry, 0.36% of the population, when only 10% is open access, and 24 million families live on 3m urban acres. The answer, of course, is the Norman conquest when English land was given by William the Conqueror to the nobles who came with him and whose descendants still own it. It’s surely time to review this grossly unfair situation.
Dr Michael H Barnes