Government under increasing pressure to ban burning on England’s peatlands - RSPB

One year on from saying they would ban burning on peatlands, the Government is still prevaricating.

Today, a group of England’s leading environmental organisations is calling on the Government to do the right thing for people and nature by making good on its repeated promise to ban the practice of deliberate burning on the nation’s valuable peatlands.

Plantlife, CPRE - the countryside charity, Friends of the Earth, National Trust, RSPB, Wildlife and Countryside Link, the Wildlife Trusts and the Soil Association are calling for a burning ban.

The coalition points out that exactly one year ago today plans were announced by the UK Government to introduce a law to ban burning on peatlands.

Rebecca Pow MP, minister at the Department for the Environment, has said that: “The Government is committed to ceasing rotational burning on blanket bog…The Government will set out its further plans to restore and protect peat in the England Peat Strategy.”

Yet, the organisations say that no such ban has been brought forward and the government’s long-awaited England Peat Strategy is still not forthcoming.

The latest available data (from Natural England in 2010) suggests that up to 260,000 tonnes of CO2 may be released every year from rotational burning on peatlands. Removing this source of CO2 pollution would be equivalent to taking more than 175,000 cars off the road

The coalition also highlights the Prime Minister’s commitment to protect 30% of the UK’s land for nature by 2030, including 400,000 hectares of new land in England. He did this, saying that: “We must act now – right now. We cannot afford dither and delay because biodiversity loss is happening today and it is happening at a frightening rate.”

Posted on: 28 October 2020

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