Government urged to ban burning on peatlands

31st October 2019

Twenty-six environmental charities, NGOs and associations are calling on the government to end the scandal of burning on peatland, which is vital in the fight against climate change.

This week during Westminster parliament’s first ever debate on nature-based solutions to climate change, MPs called on the government to introduce an end to burning on peatlands and Defra minister for State Zac Goldsmith responded with an announcement that new laws are on the cards.

Now NGOs are calling on the Government to act before Parliament is dissolved for a general election – and if that is not possible, for all parties to commit to a ban in their manifestos.

But the window of opportunity is closing. The government could rapidly introduce a ban and prevent huge amounts of carbon being released, but only if they act now before parliament dissolves ahead of a general election.

The UK’s peatlands store an estimated 3 billion tonnes of carbon. But rather than storing carbon, many of these landscapes are leaking carbon into the atmosphere and water because the land is being drained and burned. Peatlands are drained and burned to create habitat for grouse for shooting and make them more productive for farming.

An estimated 350,000 tonnes of CO2 is being released from England’s upland peatlands into the atmosphere each year, with 75 per cent of these emissions a direct result of burning.

OF&G, Greenpeace, WWF, the RSPB and the National Trust are among the twenty-six charities, NGOs, associations and coalitions who have signed the letter.