CORONAVIRUS: Water companies put stop to controlled burning on moors

Yorkshire Water and United Utilities have today asked their tenants and land managers to halt controlled burning on their land until further notice. Both water companies are significant landowners within their areas of operation, including owning moorland which is used to gather water for drinking water supplies and to help reduce the risk of flooding.
The instruction to cease any form of burning comes following requests from emergency services and local councils that landowners cease moorland burning. There are concerns that controlled burning increases the risk of unintentional wildfires, and that fumes from any form of fire may affect members of the public suffering from COVID-19.
Both Yorkshire Water and United Utilities are committed to ensuring that the emergency services staff dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic can focus on that work, rather than facing additional challenges that burning may bring. Both companies are asking that members of the public who intend to exercise in moorland areas in accordance with government guidance are aware that their actions can cause wildfires, and that they should behave responsibly to ensure that wildfires are avoided.

Paula Steer is the United Utilities director responsible for health and safety and estate management, and she said: “At this time of uncertainty all areas of society have a responsibility to ensure that our emergency services can focus on the key national priority, which is helping people affected by COVID-19 and halting its spread. We have therefore taken the decision to instruct our tenants to cease burning until further notice.”