EU Referendum



Image: Alkaline fen, The Broads Fenland © Emma Goodyer

EU Referendum

The fantastic outcome of a peatland resolution from the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii reminds us of the global imperative to protect and enhance our peatlands. Decades of peatland restoration work in the UK has gained international recognition and we are seen to be leading the way for other peatland nations.  Whilst pausing for a pat on the back we must also focus on putting in place a lasting framework to protect, enhance and sustainably manage our peatlands so that we can continue to provide an example.

The Brexit decision has created great uncertainty, but also provides opportunities. Now more than ever we have to set out clearly what we want for our peatlands and how it can be delivered in these rapidly changing times. We have submitted evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee ‘Inquiry into the future of the natural environment after the EU referendum’ pointing out that much of the EU legislation giving protection for peatlands comes from international obligations that continue to apply to the UK. Forging a suitable alternative to the EU funding for rural development (including the Common Agriculture Policy), nature conservation, water management, climate change and research that has delivered many £100’s of millions to support peatlands presents a big challenge. We have reminded the inquiry that if society is to protect peatland natural capital and avoid huge future costs from degraded peatlands then resources have to be found. To address this we’ve suggested a national fund for peatlands to enable regional projects and individual land managers to restore peatlands. In the discussions around the support mechanisms for farmers we have highlighted that it is in all our interests to deliver healthy peatlands and that public funding is required to address the market failure to fully reflect the public benefits peatlands provide. In addition, progress is being made on building private funding opportunities alongside public funds using initiatives such as the Peatland Code. Building awareness, trust and confidence among the business sector and ensuring we have good projects able to deliver peatland restoration is vital.  So too is having the right scientific evidence and monitoring data to allow us to quantify the benefits for carbon, water and biodiversity.  We have made an approach to NERC recommending that strategic funds be made available for peatland research that will allow us to deliver a major environmental outcome.

The UK Government has agreed on establishing a UK Peatland Strategy and a framework to deliver it, working with the IUCN UK Peatland Programme. An outline of the strategy will be presented at our annual conference to be held in Shrewsbury later this year and we hope those attending will use the time to ensure the peatland community has a strong voice in the important discussions taking place to plan the UK’s future and maintain our environmental reputation at global level.

Clifton Bain, Director

IUCN UK Peatland Programme

Peatland Pavilion concept
Peatland Pavilion will feature at UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)The Peatland Pavilion will provide a hub for highlighting the important role that peatlands play…
Bord na mona
United Nations recognizes major Irish Peatland Restoration initiativeDianna Kopansky of the United Nations Environment Programme has recognised the initiative led by…
GPI logo
Open call! Your opportunity to participate as a Contributing Author for the GPI’s upcoming Global Peatlands AssessmentThe Global Peatlands Initiative are currently looking for Contributing Authors (CAs) to participate…
Peatlands Are...
Reflections from Bog Day 2021This year's Bog Day was celebrated around the world on Sunday 25th July - bringing peatlands to the…
Power Station image
UK invests over £30m in large-scale greenhouse gas removalWe are delighted to support this project which will investigate the management of peatlands to…
IUCN UK PP Conf 21
Conference 2021 Registration OpenSign up for this year's IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference ‘Peatlands in Partnership: a road to…
Butterburn flow
Nature for Climate Peatland Grant SchemeInformation about the scheme to restore English peatlands and how to apply for funding.
IUCN UK PP Conference 2021
IUCN UK PP Conference 2021 - Save the dateSave the Dates: 13th - 16th September 2021
Minister Poots pictured with Jennifer Fulton, CEO of Ulster Wildlife
Northern Ireland Peatland Strategy ConsultationEnvironment Minister, Edwin Poots has launched a public consultation on the draft Northern Ireland…
Virtual Peatland Pavilion
Peatland Pavilion proposal for COP26 programmeOpportunity to contribute to and participate in proposing and shaping the first ever dedicated…
Diggers on Bwlch y Groes
Wales’ first carbon-funded peatland restoration project is complete!A peatland restoration project at Bwlch y Groes on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park is the…
England launches Peat Action Plan
England launches Peat Action PlanThe IUCN UK Peatland Programme welcomes the long-awaited publication of the England Peat Action…