Wild Justice defeated on heather burning... again

Heather is bloom over the North York Moors National Park photographed at dawn and in summer near the

The beautiful mosaic of fresh growth mixed with areas of burnt heather benefit wildlife by providing cover from predators, create fire breaks to prevent wildfire, and has the potential to increase carbon storage - Credit: Danielrao/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Court of Appeal has refused Wild Justice's application to appeal against the High Court’s refusal, on two occasions, to grant it permission to apply for Judicial Review of the Heather Burning Regulations. 

The Rt Hon Lord Justice Males dismissed the latest legal challenge by the persistent group on the grounds that an appeal had no real prospect of success. 

Wild Justice - made up of Chris Packham, Mark Avery and Ruth Tinguy - were refused permission for judicial review of the DEFRA regulations on burning on peatlands (which they say are "feeble"), and decided to appeal that judgement in October 2021; the appeal was refused in early December of the same year.

Never ones to admit defeat (even when it is inevitable due to a complete absence of evidence to support their claims), Wild Justice then decided to appeal the fact that their application had been refused.

It would seem that the only people winning in all this are Wild Justice's lawyers; it's certainly not Wild Justice, its generous supporters, or the wildlife they proclaim to care about. 

We would encourage Chris Packham, Mark Avery and Ruth Tinguy to read the recently published study by Cambridge University which confirms that controlled burns cause changes in soil composition which not only offsets immediate losses, but can actually lock in or increase carbon in the soils of forests and grasslands.

The formation of charcoal by the burning of vegetation above the ground has a beneficial effect on carbon storage in the soil, and the new growth that controlled burns encourage increases root biomass, increasing carbon-storing potential (most of the carbon in grassland habitats is stored in the roots).