The revised version of the Code will be available soon after the launch by the Cabinet Secretary on Friday, this week.
An advance copy of a text only version is being sent to everyone who has contributed to the review, but this is being done with a ‘health warning’.
A wide range of views have been expressed about burning and cutting during the review. All the comments have been carefully considered and every effort has been made to accommodate all views. However, due to the conflicting nature of some of the views, it has not been possible to incorporate every single one. A middle ground solution has been adopted wherever possible, and therefore it is likely that no-one will be completely satisfied with every part of the revised Code.
After the launch event on Friday, a discussion will take place about what needs to be done next. It is important to recognise that the Code mainly sets out the constraints on burning and cutting, but it is clear from the critique phase of the review, reinforced during more recent discussions, that there is a need for additional practical guidance about muirburn. A start has been made with the Supplementary Information that has been prepared as part of the review; other guidance will aim to provide advice to practitioners to maximise the benefits of burning and cutting, while minimising the risks to people and property from this activity.
There are also opportunities to consider issues such as: training, certification, research and knowledge exchange.
Therefore, we should not see the publication of the Code as the end of the process; I suggest it is only the start. Practitioners will be encouraged to support the development and expansion of the Supplementary Information to provide information that is of relevance to them. It may be appropriate to rework all the additional guidance into a Prescribed Burning Guide that brings together all relevant information in one place.