Drop the spin: grouse shooting will not save us from climate change - Readers' Letters

In his article “What moor managers can teach us about wildfires” (SoS, 8 August) Ross Ewing of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation suggests grouse moor managers could play a very important part in “confronting the climate emergency”.


Mr. Ewing also explained that the 2021 grouse season is going to be delayed and curtailed yet again due to another cold and wet spring. These recurring spring weather patterns are due to climate change and grouse moor managers have not been able to do anything about it for the last ten years or more.

As for so-called controlled muirburn these are little more than wildfires started deliberately by moor managers who try, not always successfully, to limit the spread of the fires. They don’t set these fires to create firebreaks but to burn out old heather to create new young shoots which grouse feed on. Muirburn kills and displaces the invertebrates which other birds and animals feed on and turn to toast any animals unable to escape the flames.

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In his opening paragraph Mr. Ewing said, “Displaced people. Broken habitats. Decimated landscapes. This is the destructive reality of the wildfires which are gripping the world.” If you add to that list “Elimination of anything that might eat a grouse or a grouse egg or chick.” You could be talking about the destructive reality of the way moors and other vast areas of Scotland have been “managed” over the last 250 years.

A springer spaniel retrieves a grouse shot on Moorland near Bentham in North Yorkshire, during the Glorious 12th, which traditionally signals the start of the grouse shooting season.

His attempts to convince us that grouse shooting could help save the world elevate Mr. Ewing from a mere spin doctor to a veritable professor of spin.

John F Robins, Animal Concern, Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire

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What Scotland's grouse moor managers can teach the world about wildfires - Ross ...

Breakfast treat

I am amazed that Aidan Smith was breakfasting on Pop-Tarts while watching live TV coverage of the Mexico Olympics in 1968 (SoS Sport, 8 August). Pop-Tarts were only introduced in the UK in the 1990s.

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews, Fife

Seeking avoidance

Douglas Crowe (letters 8 August) seems confused. The SNP trounced the other parties in May and have a mandate. The mandate is for a referendum, not for independence per se which is a decision which awaits the outcome of the referendum.

The fact that less than 50 per cent of votes cast were for the SNP is irrelevant. The last UK governments elected with over 50 per cent of the popular vote were the National Governments elected in 1931 and 1935. No UK government since has achieved a majority of the popular vote. Margaret Thatcher’s high-water mark was 43.9 per cent of the popular vote in 1979 and Tony Blair’s was 43.2 per cent in 1997. These wins were hailed as “landslides”.

Cameron attained an overall majority in the Commons in 2015 with 36.8 per cent of the popular vote.

On Mr Crowe’s view none of these they would have had a mandate. In a parliamentary democracy, the issue is whether a party has a majority of seats, alone or in concert with others, not whether it has a majority of the popular vote.

If Mr Crowe and others like-minded are so confident that a referendum will result in a “no” vote for independence, why do they resort to specious arguments as they seek to avoid one?

Bill McKinlay, Balerno

Cop out

The success of the world in reducing greenhouse gases and thus keeping global temperatures from increasing by more than 1.5C to 2C from pre-industrial levels depends on other countries.

The UK can achieve nothing with a miniscule 1.13 per cent of global emissions but it will cost taxpayers £1.4 trillion. China, with 30 per cent, can make or break the efforts of other countries. China has promised to reduce its emissions and reach Net Zero 40 years in the future when according to the green soothsayers we will all be fried to a crisp.

The surging power demand in China to maintain economic growth has meant that 15 coal mines have restarted production and will deliver 44 million tons of coal. China, India and 85 other nations have snubbed the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by ignoring the deadline for submitting their "nationally determined contributions" for cutting their emissions and none of these countries have legally-binding Climate Change Acts.

Holding COP26 is pointless without their predetermined commitments.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow

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