Peatlands Restoration and Protection Plan
The peatlands are vital to the battle against climate change, but they are dug up for compost and burned on a regular basis. The facts of the impact this treatment of the peatlands has on the environment can no longer be ignored. With that, plans have recently been announced by the government to restore and protect the peatlands with the Peat Action Plan.
With budget announcements that were made in 2020, encouraging news came in the form of a budget plan for the restoration and protection of the peatlands. Not only does the budget announcement promise to restore the peatlands. But they have also mentioned their intention to plant “enough trees to cover an area the size of Birmingham”. Additionally, there is the intention to provide more funding in order to protect the animals and plant life unique to the UK.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak had announced in 2020 the government’s intention to restore, expand, and protect the woodlands and peat bogs. This will be done with a dedicated budget of £640 million named the Nature for Climate Fund. Additionally, £25 million will be added by the Nature Recovery Network Fund. This will be to provide additional support for the species and habitats in areas undergoing recovery.
On May 18th, 2021, the Peat Action Plan was made public, showcasing the government’s intention to go forward with the peatland recovery process. It is intended as a 25-year Environment Plan with the aim for the peatlands “to meet their Net-Zero contribution.”
Multiple aims have been put in place to achieve the final goal of the Peat Action Plan, including:
- Developing an up-to-date and detailed peatlands map as a clear base, to begin with.
- The funding of restoring 35,000 hectares of peatlands by 2025.
- Working with the Lowland Agricultural Peat Task Force to put together recommendations for creating a more sustainable future for the peatlands by summer 2022.
- The plan to publish consultations. in 2021, regarding banning the sale of peat, as well as products that contain peat.
- The phasing out of managed burning in order to protect the peatlands and reduce wildfire risks.
They have also broken down what they hope to achieve with the above aims:
- Secure the peatlands carbon store by 2050 in order to meet their Net Zero contributions.
- Improve water quality and deliver natural flood management.
- encourage and drive investment into the peatland restoration plan.
- Fully restore and continually protect the peatlands in order to create a rich, well-functioning ecosystem.
As well as listing their future goals for the peatlands:
- The aim for all English soils to be sustainably managed by 2030.
- By 2042, 75% of Sites of Special Scientific Interest should be in favourable condition.
- 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat should be restored or created.
This plan is both encouraging and exciting for the future of the environment, turning heads throughout the environmental activist community. The Peat Action Plan intends to work towards creating a generation of humans that “leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it.” Let us hope it is as successful as intended and that the peatlands are back to their former glory in 25 years.