COMMONS

State of peatland in England inquiry launched

02 August 2019

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee looks at how peatland in England has been degraded, the environmental impacts of that degradation, and how it can be restored.

80% of UK peatland is in a damaged and deteriorating state, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said in 2013 that, without action, it is likely that the current level of degradation will increase with climate change and will increasingly cause costly problems to society.

Peat bogs and fens are important habitats for many species, and have many environmental benefits including storing carbon, improving water quality and helping with flood management. Degraded peatlands release carbon into the atmosphere and are highly vulnerable to wild fires.

According to the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan conventional agricultural production using current techniques on drained peatland is inherently unsustainable. An England Peatland Strategy is expected to be published by the end of 2019.

The Committee will look at how peatland in England has been degraded, the environmental impacts of that degradation, and how it can be restored.

Terms of reference

The Committee is seeking written submissions that address the following questions:

  1. What is the current state of peatlands in England, and how is it changing?
  2. What is the potential contribution of peatland restoration to the UK’s net zero greenhouse gas target, and the consequence of inaction?
  3. What are the other economic, ecological and cultural benefits of restoring and maintaining peatlands?
  4. What are the costs of peatland restoration, and what wider societal and economic adaptations might it require?
  5. What should be included in the forthcoming England Peatland Strategy?

Deadline for submissions

Written evidence should be submitted through the peatland inquiry page by midnight on Monday 23 September. It is recommended that all submitters familiarise themselves with the Guidance on giving evidence to a Select Committee of the House of Commons which outlines particulars of word count, format, document size, and content restrictions.

Further information

Image: Natural England/Peter Roworth

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