CONTROLLED burning on moors should be considered part of the techniques for controlling wildfires, Kate Forbes has said.

The MSP, who organised a summit on Highlands wildfires on Wednesday, said the practice of muirburn – the controlled burning of heather and other plants – was an important part of reducing the spread of wildfires.

It comes as legislation going through Holyrood would introduce new controls on muirburn.

The Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill was introduced amid concerns about the environmental impact of the practice. However, land managers say it is an important part of their work.

READ MORE: Scottish council investigates 'unauthorised' work on billionaire's estate

Speaking to press following the summit, Forbes said many land managers had argued that muirburn created fire breaks which reduced fuel when wildfires start.

She said: “There is a suggestion of clamping down on muirburn.

“I think there was a consensus that we need to be really careful, ensuring that there are as many effective techniques to control fire as possible.

“And we look at the legislation through the lens of the risk of wildfire.”

She added: “I think the message is that we need to ensure we have as many techniques at our disposal for combating fire.

“That needs to include helicopters dropping water, but it also needs to include a break in the vegetation and that is usually a man-made break through the form of burning.”

The National:

The summit, which Forbes said was “really positive”, was attended by Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon (above).

Forbes also discussed Humza Yousaf’s bid to “reset” relations with the business community in Scotland, one of his priorities since becoming First Minister.

At the end of June, his Government dropped controversial plans for highly protected marine areas (HPMAs) which would have restricted fishing in Scottish waters.

Earlier, Yousaf said the Government would rethink its plans to curb alcohol advertising.

READ MORE: Just Stop Oil protestor punched and kicked by man in car accident

Forbes, who represents Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “Credit where it’s due, I absolutely commend the First Minister for changing his approach on HPMAs which I said I would do during the (leadership) contest; for adapting alcohol advertising, which I said I would do during the campaign.

“And hopefully we continue that approach of listening.”

On the next general election, she said there has been “poll after poll” which suggested “it might be more difficult for the SNP”.

She continued: “If our core message is that we are a party who listens, we have a national party who delivers for all of Scotland, then I think that we can inspire the public to put their trust in the SNP. Nothing is inevitable.”