This tweet getting plenty of attention. There is a huge groundswell of popular support for change in our uplands. The great obstacle is that we, the people, own almost none of the land; we are powerless to create the country we need and long for. https://twitter.com/GDRNorminton/status/1306973627343147009
Even when the land is owned for the common good, shifting baseline syndrome means that organisations like the @nationaltrust are slow to rewild & restore our hills. An example: I commute by train via the Vale of Edale, much of it owned by the NT. It's empty, still sheepwrecked.
(I'm a member of the NT and volunteer for it. In places in the Peaks, it's changing practice. But we are out of time, and need to *transform* our bleak, treeless, overgrazed, sport-industrialised uplands. We don't have another 20 years to campaign for change slowly to begin.)
Here's the Vale of Edale seen from the eastern end. The slopes on the left mostly belong to the National Trust. They should be covered in scrub and woodland and heather. Instead, a sort of post-nuclear deadland.
Now, here is Carrifran, a valley in the Scottish borders, as it was 30 years ago and as it is now, after restoration work by @BordersForest. This could and should be happening everywhere.
But who owns our uplands? Well, the driven grouse shooting industry 'manages' 16,763 square kilometres, about 8% of the combined area of England and Scotland. Its practices can only be described as ecocidal, all to maximise one species of victim.
Grouse moors in the UK consist of about 150 estates. Fewer than 150 people - aristocrats, tax exiles, City financiers - own 550,000 acres of England and tens of thousands of acres of Scotland. https://grousemoors.whoownsengland.org/
These estates slaughter foxes, badgers, stoats, mountain hares, raptors. They burn a precious carbon store to stimulate the young heather that red grouse feed upon. Downstream, communities suffer the resulting floods, year after year. (Left: Sheffield. Right: Hebden Bridge)
The government's own @ChiefExecCCC has called for a ban on burning (the season begins in less than 2 weeks) but promises from @ZacGoldsmith that it will be introduced have come to nothing. Last week, Michael Gove ensured that shooting estates are exempt from the 'Rule of 6'.