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9:34 AM 15th April 2020

Heather Beetle – Comment From The Moorland Association

Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association commented:
“It is terrible to see the blight of the heather beetle return to our moorland. Outbreaks of heather beetle devastate our treasured purple landscape, decimating hundreds of hectares of heather and threatening the wildlife which thrives on it. Where it strikes there will be no purple bloom and no nectar for bees to feed on.

“The dead heather that is left in the wake of these swarms serves simply as fuel for wildfires – which are already wreaking havoc due to the unseasonably warm and dry weather conditions, placing even greater stress on our front line emergency services.

Heather beetle - photo by Will George
Heather beetle - photo by Will George
“The increase in heather beetle outbreaks is most likely linked to climate change and the parasitic wasp that usually helps control the number of heather beetles is out of sync. This is not a problem unique to Yorkshire as heather all across the UK – from Devon to Deeside, has been effected. As around 75% of Europe’s upland heather moorland is found in the UK this is a highly worrying development affecting a priority habitat.”

About the Moorland Association
Moorland Association members are passionate in their care for 860,000 acres of heather moorland in England and Wales for wild red grouse, spending £52. 5 million a year on these iconic, fragile landscapes.