Committee on Climate Change Report on Land Use: Policies for a Net Zero UK

January 23, 2020

 

CCC Land use: policies for net zero uk reportThe IUCN UK Peatland Programme welcomed the opportunity to feed into the development of the CCC’s latest report on land use. We are pleased to see a strengthened policy and legislative recommendations for increasing the area of UK peatland under restoration and a move to more sustainable management practices. 

The CCC recommends that “Restoring at least 50% of upland peat and 25% of lowland peat would reduce peatland emissions by 5 MtCO2e by 2050, while allowing food production to continue on the most productive land.” Their modelled scenario also assumes that “25% of the area with low productivity trees [on peatland] is removed by 2050”.

The Committee acknowledge that the scale of peatland restoration recommended by 2050 is a minimum level required to support Net Zero.

Inaction carries a “high risk that degraded peatlands will be lost due to hotter and drier conditions in the changing climate unless they are restored”.  

The IUCN UK Peatland Programme, as set out in the UK Peatland Strategy, is calling for a more ambitious target of “2million ha [c.80%] of peatland in good condition, under restoration or being sustainably managed by 2040”: this is closer to the Committee’s speculative scenario of 75% of upland peatlands restored, 25% of lowland peatlands restored, 25% of low-productive forestry restored to bog and a further 25% of lowland peatland with improved seasonal water table management. 

Key elements of the CCC’s proposed approach for peatlands include: 

Strengthening the regulatory baseline to ensure low-regret measures are taken up:

  • Banning damaging practices such as rotational burning on peatland (by 2020), peat extraction and the sale of peat and peat imports (by 2023); 
  • Regulating that peat soils are not left bare;
  • Mandating all peatland within a Site of Special Scientific Interest to be under restoration and mandate water companies to restore peatland under their ownership and
  • Regulating internal drainage boards to maintain optimal water table levels.

Enabling measures to address financial and non-financial barriers:

  • Public money to fund the carbon and non-carbon benefits of restoration, alongside sustainable management practices on peat that remains in agricultural production. In the longer term, once emissions reductions can be verified effectively, this could move to a trading or auctioning system, as proposed for afforestation;
  •  Research to improve verification and, in the longer-term, use of market mechanisms to pay for carbon benefits and attract private investment;
  • Improve incentives for land-owners to invest in restoration.  There is a place for local and trusted intermediaries to play a role in approaching and encouraging landowners to engage in peatland restoration. Training staff and building up the supply-chain of expertise to support restoration requires extra funding on top of the capital costs of restoration and
  • Raise awareness and provide training to support adoption of sustainable management practices on peatland.

 

Download the report: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/land-use-policies-for-a-net-zero-uk/

Sphagnum moss harvesting at trial site, Greifswald Mire Centre © Tobias Dahms
Wet agriculture - a tool in the climate action toolboxWith the urgent need to reduce our carbon emissions wherever possible, complimenting traditional…
Money for peatland restoration
Budget announcements for UK peatland restoration Peatlands received a welcome funding boost in the UK Budget 2020.  In a move to support the…
Peatlands in the EU post CAP
Peatlands in the UK beyond Common Agriculture Policy (CAP)The IUCN UK Peatland Programme continues to feed into the international peatland agenda, recently…
Afforested peatland restoration at Forsinard  © Neil Cowie/RSPB
Peatland & Trees position statement releasedThe IUCN UK Peatland Programme have released a position statement and recommendations on Trees on…
Caithness Wildfire, 2019 © Paul Turner
Burning & Peatlands Position StatementThe IUCN UK Peatland Programme have updated our position statement on Burning and Peatlands which…
Dubh lochans and blanket bog at The Flows NNR near Forsinard, Caithness. June 2011 ©Lorne Gill/SNH/2020VISION
Scottish Budget 2020-21The Scottish Government announces £20 million for peatland restoration and a commitment to invest £…
Land use: policies for a Net Zero UK CCC report
Committee on Climate Change Report on Land Use: Policies for a Net Zero UKThe IUCN UK Peatland Programme welcomes strengthened policy and legislative recommendations in the…
Multiple effects of peatland drainage
New resource available: Explaining the impact of peatland drainage.Illustrating the multiple effects of peatland drainage including implications for carbon emissions…
Managed burning of heather © North Pennines AONB
A burning issue: comparison between Australian & UK fire management misses the mark. The news of the ongoing Australian fires is deeply concerning both in terms of the impact on people…
IUCN Resolution 43 reporting
IUCN Resolution 43 reportingNew report on progress under IUCN Resolution 43: Securing the future of global peatlands available…
Langlands Moss Restoration works underway
Langlands Moss Restoration works underwayLanglands Moss Local Nature Reserve, on the south edge of East Kilbride, Scotland is set to be…
Snowdonia Society volunteers creating heather bale dams on the Migneint, Snowdonia. © Dan Struthers Photography
Working together for the future of Welsh peatlandsA major programme of works is underway this season to restore peatlands across Wales. A large…