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Partial peat-burning ban positive as a first step, but limits and loopholes leave cause for climate concern - Wildlife and Countryside Link

The announcement by the government today of a partial ban on the burning of blanket bogs (one of three types of peatland) across England is welcome news for nature and the climate. But conservationists would like to see the burning ban extended to all upland peat (not just protected areas), and warn that exceptions in the new laws must not be exploited to allow burning to continue. Both nature experts and the public say wider action is needed to protect peatlands, which are the UK’s biggest carbon sink.

New YouGov research on behalf of Wildlife and Countryside Link shows that the public will support the move announced today by government:

But the new findings also reveal that the public would like further Government action to improve our carbon-capturing peatlands including:

Dr Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said:“Peatlands are deep vaults of carbon and treasure troves of biodiversity, so the restrictions on burning in protected bogs are a very positive step. But with 13% of the world’s blanket bog here in the UK, every acre is internationally significant. It will be essential that the exceptions to the ban are not exploited to allow the burning debate to smoulder on—this practice that is so damaging to nature, climate and communities must stop. We hope that this measure will be followed swiftly by restrictions on burning in peatlands outside the protected area network and by a ban on peat in horticultural compost.”

Posted on: 29 January 2021

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