The Muirburn Code

This version of the Muirburn Code was produced for the Scottish Government by Scotland’s Moorland Forum and published after the launch by Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform on 22nd September 2017.

The Code provides good practice guidance for burning and cutting of vegetation. It also sets out statutory restrictions, and to highlight these the word MUST is used. If these restrictions are not followed, the muirburn activity will be in breach of statute.

Overview of Sections

  • Definitions are provided of key terms – hover over this example
  • Regulation covers the guidance that MUST be taken into account in sections that cover: Regulation issues, Protected Areas and Protected Species
  • The Management section includes a Planning for Muirburn Table and sections that cover Burning and Cutting.
  • The Good Practice Management section covers some specific considerations associated with: Muirburn and Peatland, Muirburn for Grazing Management and Muirburn for Grouse Moor Management.
  • The Information Section contains extra guidance as Supplementary Information, a Reading List of research papers and a Contact Form to allow direct contact with the Muirburn Group of Scotland’s Moorland Forum.


Printed Version 

This web based version of the code is designed to make it easy to move between the different sections of the Code to find the required information.  It also benefits from the many hyperlinks within the text.  A full version of the Code is also available in Portable Document Format (PDF) and it can be downloaded for viewing or printing.  The PDF version will be kept up to date with any changes to this web site.


Supplementary Information

Supplementary Information is provided on some topics. The Supplementary Information does not form part of the Muirburn Code and the different sections will be reviewed and updated regularly.

The document Prescribed Burning on Moorland – A Supplement to the Muirburn Code was published to support a previous edition of the Code. This document has not been updated as part of this review and much of the guidance it contains is still relevant, where not superseded by this document or the Supplementary Information.



A very wide range of people and organisations supported the review process that produced this version of the Code. The Scottish Government acknowledges this support, which has enhanced the value of the Code and its relevance to practitioners.



© SNH 2017

Produced by Scotland’s Moorland Forum and 
Published on 22nd September 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78391-541-5

Scottish Natural Heritage
Great Glen House
Leachkin Road