Government is failing to protect peatlands, says Wildlife Trust

The government is failing to protect England’s peatlands, says the Wildlife Trust, following the two-year delay to England’s peatland strategy. 

Peatlands are the UK’s largest on-land carbon store, holding around 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon, three times as much as woodlands.

However, in their current degraded condition, they release the equivalent of 23 million tonnes of CO2 every single year, that’s 5% of the UK’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

The Wildlife Trust has criticised the government for failing to recognise the importance of protecting peatlands, they have highlighted that there is still no sign of the England peat strategy, which was due in December 2018.

The government also pledged to restore 35,000 hectares of England’s peatlands by 2025, however, the Wildlife Trust has criticised this for not going far enough, with the government’s own advisors estimating that around 300,000 hectares should be repaired.

Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts said: ‘The Government has failed to set an ambitious restoration target for peatlands even though they are one of the most valuable habitats in the UK. Just as bad is the fact that they do not have the appetite to stop the ongoing damage. The nature and climate crises must be tackled together – prizing our peatlands should be top of the Government’s to-do list.

‘We must stop practices that damage peatlands. Burning should be banned everywhere and this precious habitat should be rewetted to stop moorland fires raging and to help rare and unusual wildlife like curlew, carnivorous plants and beautiful dragonflies to return.

‘Two years after it was promised, we are still lacking a peat strategy. Only around a quarter of the UK’s three million hectares of peatland is in a natural state so it’s a matter of extreme urgency that the Government leads the way in nursing degraded bogs and fens back to health.

‘Meanwhile, it’s left to voluntary charities to step in. The Wildlife Trusts have restored more peatland than the Government has committed to do.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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