Muirburn 'most effective' fuel management tool- Grouse Bill latest

The second stakeholder session on the Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill took place at Holyrood on Wednesday (21st June), with the final evidence session of Stage One taking place next Wednesday. 

A well managed Scottish grouse moor

There, Minister Mairi Gougeon will answer key questions on the Bill.


Grouse Moor licensing and Muirburn were the key elements being debated in the second stakeholder session.


Several points began to emerge from law enforcement.


Police Scotland elaborated on why the force opposes additional powers for SSPCA, with the Law Society also voicing opposition.


Police Scotland reiterated previous misgivings surrounding impartiality (a fundamental aspect of the SGA’s opposition) as well as the need for the Police to remain the lead authority.

This would enable Police to bring greater intelligence resources to bear during an investigation and to avoid confusion for the Scottish public as to who they should be reporting to.


Police Scotland’s representative, Detective Sergeant David Lynn, concluded that, in terms of widening the scope, SSPCA being given the opportunity, purely, to retrieve an injured animal, in co-ordination with the Police, was perhaps something they ‘could discuss’ but that Scotland’s national police force remained opposed to wider powers; a position they have maintained since the last time this was debated at Holyrood.

Police Scotland told the Rural Affairs Committee that they oppose more powers for the SSPCA.

On licensing, NatureScot (like the Werritty panelists in the evidence session last week) said they felt the One Year licence duration could be extended to around the 3-5 year mark, in line with other licensing regimes. 

The Law Society stated that a one year licence, as framed, had the potential to be ‘unduly burdensome’ and it may be that these views are taken on board by the Minister, given the level of consensus from experts over the past fortnight.

In the Muirburn session, Bruce Farquharson of Scottish Fire and Rescue Service expressed concern (play video, below) around restricting muirburn on the basis of peat depth (a key SGA concern). 


He agreed with the SGA position that fuel load reduction should become part of a new Muirburn Code (with statutory basis)

  and made the case for the inclusion of mandatory training- again a measure the SGA proposed in communications to MSPs and the Committee.

Christine Grahame MSP agreed with the point made the previous week by Professor Colin Reid that making it a condition of a muirburn licence that all forms of vegetation control should have been tried, first, should be changed in the Bill wording to reflect that this should be done where ‘appropriate’, acknowledging that this would not always be either possible or wise depending on circumstances.

Below are 3 videos which illustrate some of they key points on Muirburn. Keep following the SGA website and social media pages in the days ahead for the latest on the Bill.

You can watch the FULL deliberations on the Bill using the link below:




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