Largan column: 'We must all behave responsibly and respect our countryside'

In his latest column, High Peak MP Robert Largan urges everyone to "do their bit to respect, protect and enjoy the Peak District" after recent moorland fires and problems with littering.

Spring has brought sunny weather back to the High Peak. Our beautiful part of the world looks especially glorious in the sunshine.

As restrictions ease, I know lots of people are taking the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, but we must all behave responsibly and respect our countryside.

It has been really worrying to see the recently reported fires on the moors. As the weather becomes drier and hotter, the risk of fire increases. I want to thank our fantastic Fire & Rescue Service, as well as the Peak District Moorland Group and others, who have been fighting these fires in recent days. But it is frustrating to see this happening over and over again.

Anyone planning on visiting the moors should be sensible and use their common sense. I have previously gotten several local shops to stop selling disposable BBQs, but clearly more needs to be done to ensure the rules are enforced in the Peak District. I will be working closely with the National Park and local partners to help educate people coming into the area, so we can protect our countryside.

Fires on the moors are not our only problem. There are also problems with littering and ‘grot spots’ around the borough. I have been doing my bit to help, including taking matters into my own hands with some water, soap and a bucket! I’ve also been working with local authorities and land managers like United Utilities who recently agreed to empty bins around Longdendale twice a week, which is having a positive impact.

Let us not forget that it is also lambing season. Please remember to be extra careful and keep dogs on leads when near farm animals. Just the other day, I popped over to Smalldale to catch up with Luke, a local farmer and businessman, who I’ve been helping with a local issue. I unexpectedly got the chance to say hello to a new lamb, who sadly was rejected by his mum, so has to be hand-fed.

I was pleased to see that Natural England has published a revised Countryside Code. I am keen to work with organisations like the Peak District National Park, the National Farmers Union and the Government to do more to promote awareness of the code so that new visitors to our beautiful part of the world treat the countryside with respect.

We all have to pull together and foster a culture of responsibility around our countryside. It is vital for protecting farm animals, wildlife and our environment. Let’s all do our bit to respect, protect and enjoy the Peak District!

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