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Peat Bogs: Environment Protection

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 154882, tabled on 19 February 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of peatland (a) restoration and (b) management for helping to (i) abate greenhouse gas emissions, (ii) manage fuel loads and (iii) deliver conservation outcomes on deep peat; and what steps he is taking to ensure that learning from (A) scientific research on and (B) practitioner management of peat informs the restoration and protection of blanket bog.

Answered on

1 March 2021

Restored peatland achieves a variety of natural capital objectives, including carbon sequestration, water regulation and quality, optimising biodiversity, preserving archaeology, and minimising wildfire hazards. We are committed to restoring and sustainably managing England’s peatlands. The Chancellor announced in March that as part of the Nature for Climate Fund, 35,000ha of peatland restoration would be achieved over the next five years. This represents a significant step forward in our restoration efforts and will require us to work closely with a wide range of stakeholders, including landowners and land management representative organisations.

We continue to monitor all aspects of scientific research on the impacts of burning on blanket bog habitat. The balance of evidence remains that burning on blanket bog is detrimental as it moves the bog away from its original wet state and risks vulnerable peat bogs becoming converted to drier, heathland habitat. That is why we are taking action to prevent further damage by bringing forward legislation that will limit burning of vegetation on protected deep peat.

The Government will be setting out further measures to restore, protect and manage England’s peatlands this year as part of a package of measures to protect England’s landscapes and nature-based solutions.