CPRE calls for burning of peatland to stop

Boggy grass at sunrise
Peat in the Lincolnshire fens at sunrise

1 October 2020

Commenting on the start of the moor burning season (1 October), Daniel Carey-Dawes, head of rural economy and communities at CPRE, the countryside charity, said: ‘The start of the burning season marks another missed milestone in the UK’s efforts to tackle the climate emergency. With over three billion tonnes of carbon stored in UK peat soils, peatlands are one of our best natural allies for keeping carbon out of the atmosphere. Restoring them to health should be a top priority. Yet, from today, landowners are able to burn swathes of peatland, inevitably driving up carbon emissions and continuing to degrade these wonderful habitats. We’re watching England’s rainforests burn.

‘Mosses on peat bogs are key to the process of sequestrating carbon but burning damages them. The government’s climate change advisers have called for a 2020 ban on burning and now is the ideal time for the government – in a strong England Peat Strategy – to say how and when it will deliver on this ambition.

‘As the UK prepares to host the COP 26 international climate conference, we have an unrivalled opportunity to show global leadership and use all of our diplomatic might to drive action to tackle the climate emergency. Our credibility is on the line – the world will be watching as we allow England’s rainforest to burn.’