A new training scheme to promote best practice in the use of muirburn has been backed by Scotland’s estates.

Organised by Lantra and recognised by NatureScot, Scotland’s nature agency, the training course is designed for those who will take part in land management activities that use fire as a tool.

Scottish Land & Estates, which represents rural businesses across Scotland, said the module was a vital step forward in not only keeping practitioners up to date in their knowledge and skills but also formally recognising the huge value of muirburn in managing land.

Muirburn is the controlled burning of moorland vegetation to encourage new growth (either heather or grassland) for the management of moorland game and wildlife or for improving the grazing potential of the moorland for livestock or deer. Muirburn is also used to maintain moorland landscapes and habitats, and to reduce the risk of damage to habitats from wildfires.

Supported by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the online module will cover the requirements of the existing Muirburn Code including where and when muirburn can be carried out, restrictions on the practice and the required notifications before muirburn can take place.

Participants will then undertake a practical module to cover the basics on how to safely use equipment, both mechanical and non-mechanical, the correct PPE, the on the day considerations such as weather and wildfire danger assessments, the safe application of fire and post burn considerations. Assessment will be via direct observation and knowledge and understanding checks.

Ross Ewing, Moorland Director at Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Muirburn is a vital tool in managing Scotland’s land and the creation of this Lantra course is a great step forward in both promoting best practice and giving greater public acknowledgement to the value of muirburn in the years ahead.

“Land managers and gamekeepers are already highly skilled in the use of controlled burning and do so in compliance with the Muirburn Code but the opportunity that the course brings to formalise that knowledge with both factual and practical elements is to be welcomed.

“We know that muirburn can often create debate and it was one of the recommendations of the Werritty review that increased training be provided to those who carry out the practice, whether it be for game management, farming or crofting. This course fulfils that recommendation and in the near future, we hope to see further modules on the management of muirburn activity and support for tackling wildfires.

“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has acknowledged how important controlled burning can be in limiting the threat of wildfires breaking out and ensuring we have people trained to deal with this increasing danger is vitally important.”

To learn more about the new training scheme, read the news release on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website: https://www.firescotland.gov.uk/news/2023/january/new-course-sets-the-standard-on-controlled-burning-for-land-managers/

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