The SSA’s work to protect peatlands focuses on collaborating with and amplifying the work of sister organisations with a proven track record of lobbying in this area. Peatlands are unique and vital environments. They are the largest natural terrestrial carbon store, supply clean drinking water, mitigate flood risk and provide a habitat for vast swathes of wildlife.
As a policy area, peat protection is better established than that for soils, with separate targets and policy instruments. Peat was included in the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, published early 2018, with commitments to restore vulnerable peatlands via a new ambitious framework for peat restoration in England and to end peat use in horticultural products by 2030.
Peat policy in the 4 Nations of the UK:
Wales launched a National Peatlands Action Programme in November 2020 that will ensure the nationwide delivery of existing peatland policies devised by the Welsh Government, providing a single set of guidelines and advice for partners and land managers.
In Northern Ireland a number of measures including government policy, legislation, protected sites and education are currently utilised as part of a strategy for the protection and conservation of peatlands.
Scotland implemented a National Peatland Plan in 2015.
In England, the Peat Action Plan was published in May 2021, setting out the government’s long-term vision for the management, protection and restoration of peatlands. This includes the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme and the phasing out of all amateur uses of peat, such as for gardening and potted plants, by 2024.