CLIMATE action activists staged a protest over heather burning and grouse shooting at a helipad in the Allen Valleys.

Members of Extinction Rebellion Tynedale attended the landing site near a public bridleway close to a quarry at Doddend, Allenheads, last week.

Campaigner Iris Priest said the protest was necessary to rise awareness of the local environment.

She said: "I grew up in the North Pennines in an area very similar to the Allendale Common. Every year my sister and I would watch the annual heather burning as the great wall of smoke and flame crept over the fells and riggs.

"We thought about the plants, the animals and birds, we thought about the smoke and pollution from the helicopters, we wondered where the water was coming from and what would happen next."

The helipad is built on the Allenheads grouse moor, which is owned by hedge fund manager Jeremy Herrmann.

Northumberland County Council had asked the landowner to stop using it due to safety issues, but approved a retrospective application for the helipad in December after it was built without planning permission.

Iris added: "This small group of rebels visited the site of the helipad because we believe it is important to call out the landowner and his actions which are causing great harm to the local environment and beyond.

"I know that there are jobs and livelihoods bound up with grouse shooting estates, but I also believe that another system based around green jobs and nature tourism which works with and not against nature, is completely possible."

"One which could generate greater equality and investment in our countryside."