Extinction Rebellion activists staged a protest at an Allen Valleys helipad against what it calls 'the intensive management of upland moors for driven grouse shooting.'

Members of the Tynedale protest group visited the site with drums on October 31 to project its message.

One of the protesters, Siobhan Stephenson, said: "Our uplands hold 40 per cent of the carbon stores of the UK. Yet when moors are damaged, they release this held carbon into the air.

"A study (2011 UK Commission of Inquiry on Peatlands) found that 10 million tons of carbon dioxide was emitted from the UK’s damaged peatlands every year.

"Burning heather on peatland is a major cause of this damage. Much of this land is managed intensively for driven grouse shooting, with heather burned to produce green shoots for food for the artificially high population of red grouse that are desired by grouse shooters.

"It is untrue to say, as an article in the Courant quoted Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association as saying, that ‘controlled burning is crucial for restoration and protection of peatland.’

"The EMBER study of 2014 states that ‘altering the hydrology of peatlands so they become drier is known to cause significant losses of carbon from storage in the soil.’

"It also affects our water quality, polluting it with particles that need to be removed, and making it more acidic."

"This is a serious issue, as 70 per cent of our water comes from the Uplands. Dryer peat also holds less water and is likely to contribute to increasingly serious flooding incidents, for example those in Hebden Bridge and the Lake District.

"We are in a Climate and Ecological Emergency. This not only threatens Hen Harriers – which continue to be illegally persecuted to near extinction on grouse moors – but our human species too."

The group has called for a ban on grouse shooting and to instead restore upland areas to store carbon.

Siobhan added: "Let’s hold upland grouse moor owners to account.

"We want our tax money spent on restoring and protecting this rare and very important landscape, not on propping up driven grouse shooting."