THE UK’s FIRST collaborative Peatland Strategy has been launched today, setting out a shared vision for a brighter future for our vital, but damaged peatlands. In developing the strategy, the IUCN UK Peatland Programme has involved stakeholders from across Government, third sector, scientific and land managing communities. All are coming together to celebrate this momentous step forward in the conservation of UK peatlands and to discuss implementation of the strategy to bring about positive change at an event in York.
Dr Emma Goodyer, strategy lead and Programme Manager of the IUCN UK Peatland Programme said:
“Collaborative action to bring about healthy peatlands is essential if we are to achieve the landscape-scale change required. That is why it was important to develop this strategy as a collective spanning across those involved in their management. Only by working with others towards a shared vision will we be able to realise our target of two million hectares of peatlands in healthy condition by 2040, and so ensure benefits not just for the animals and plants that depend on them, but for society as a whole.”
The IUCN UK Peatland Programme was set up in 2009 to promote peatland restoration in the UK. The Programme advocates the multiple benefits of peatlands through partnerships, strong science, sound policy and effective practice. The work of the Peatland Programme is overseen by a steering group made up of representatives of key environmental organisations that includes the North Pennines AONB Partnership.
Chris Woodley-Stewart, Director of the AONB Partnership, said: “The North Pennines AONB Partnership is a strong supporter of the IUCN UK Peatland Programme and we have been working with them since 2009 to secure the restoration of peatlands. We welcome the strategy, which reflects the positive momentum of all of us working to restore and maintain peatlands and gives long overdue recognition to the important role our areas play in the wider ecosystem.”
Whilst our knowledge of peatland habitats continue to improve, there is clear scientific evidence of the often immediate benefits to be gained for water, climate change, wildlife and land management. Only healthy, functioning peatlands can deliver these benefits. The North Pennines AONB and UNESCO Global Geopark has the largest area of contiguous blanket bog in England and the Partnership has been working to restore these areas since 2006. Chris Woodley-Stewart added: “As the lead partner in the Pennine PeatLIFE project, funded by the EU LIFE programme, we are continuing to advance peat restoration techniques with our many partners, and we are sharing our expertise through national and international networks.”
The UK Peatland Strategy encompasses all peatlands in the United Kingdom. It sets the context for action led by the devolved administrations’ in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and recommends six goals to achieve change:
- Conserve, restore and enhance the best peatlands
- Restore damaged peatlands to functioning ecosystems
- Adapt management of drained peatlands
- Sustainably manage healthy peatlands with compatible land uses
- Maintain a programme to oversee progress against strategic goals
- Communicate value of peatlands to a wide audience.
For more information on the IUCN UK Peatland Programme or to download a copy of the UK Peatland Strategy please visit www.iucn-uk-peatlandprogramme.org.