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Upland Peatlands

Cotton Grass: David Fryer-WinderCotton Grass: David Fryer-Winder

Our uplands are iconic landscapes that improve the environment, help combat climate change, provide havens for nature and benefits for people, such as clean drinking water.

Nowhere is this statement more true than upland peatlands.

As well as providing a unique landscape and wonderful places for people to walk, they are home to a special range of internationally important plants and animals. They also lock up over 400,000 tonnes of carbon per year, slowing floodwaters, filtering drinking water. But only four per cent of England’s upland peatlands are in good ecological condition, and the remainder is not living up to its potential for providing homes for nature and combating climate change.

The Wildlife Trusts, together with the RSPB, National Trust and other conservation and industry organisations have written to the Secretaries of State in charge of Defra and the Department for Energy and Climate Change challenging them to take action on five key areas on 200,000 hectares of England peatland:
• Work to bring England’s upland peatlands back into the condition that will maintain the vital ecosystem services these habitats provide for society;
• Support and play its part in the IUCN’s UK Peatland Programme’s target for one million hectares (200,000 ha in England) of healthy and well-managed upland peatlands by 2020, and the Committee on Climate Change’s call to triple the area of upland peatland being restored;
• Develop capital funding for peatland restoration, through a combination of public and private contribution and partnerships, commensurate with the above scale of ambition for upland peatland restoration;
• Secure funding to ensure ongoing well-managed upland peatlands through a combination of rural funding and market related funding routes, including the practical development of innovative routes including the Peatland Carbon Code;
• Work to swiftly adopt a methodology for estimating carbon fluxes from peatlands in common with other UK countries, include peatland carbon in greenhouse gas inventories and voluntarily include peatlands in the UK’s Kyoto Protocol reporting.

Partner organisations include Buglife, Campaign for National Parks, CPRE, Dartmoor Mires Project, Exmoor Mires Project, John Muir Trust, National Trust, North Pennines AONB Partnership, RSPB, South West Water, The Wildlife Trusts, and United Utilities.