Peat moorland covers four hundred thousand hectares of UK uplands. It is a tremendous natural asset, but has been severely degraded in recent years.
Healthy peat moorland works as a sink for atmospheric carbon. Degraded peat moorland actively releases greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.
The UK's peat moorlands are currently so degraded that they release 16 million tonnes of CO2 (equivalent) a year - enough CO2e to completely undermine 50% of our annual efforts to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions from all other sources .
The consensus between scientists and moorland managers is that, properly managed, peat moorland can provide a multitude of services simultaneously: sheep can be grazed; wild game can thrive; biodiversity can flourish; water can be stored to alleviate the threat of flooding and of drought; water is naturally filtered to provide cleaner drinking water; and carbon dioxide can be actively sequestered from the atmosphere.
However, the only subsidies currently available for managing this land are for either agriculture or biodiversity; these things are rarely achieved effectively, yet that is all that it receives.
It doesn’t have to stay that way. This land could be managed for tremendous public benefit.
Prioritise management of the land for carbon-capture. Combat climate change, and every other benefit can be achieved to it’s highest possible potential.
Take Action on Carbon
We have the chance to take action on the Paris Agreement and secure a better climate and better future. But only if we know what we're aiming for.
Prioritise Carbon Sequestration
Halt substantial greenhouse gas emissions from degraded moorland
As much as double our annual efforts in reducing national greenhouse gas emissions
Actively capture and store CO2 from the atmosphere
Establish healthy ecosystems, and see further benefits cascading through all other functions of moorland
With thanks to other contributors to knowledge*:
Clifton Bain IUCN NCUK Peatland Programme
Rob Stoneman Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Jillian Hoy Peatland Code Coordinator, IUCN NCUK Peatland Programme
Stuart Brooks Head of Natural Heritage Conservation Policy, The National Trust for Scotland
Stephen Trotter Director England and Living Landscapes, The Wildlife Trusts
Professor Chris Evans Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Dr Marta Santamaria Technical Director, Natural Capital Coalition
Amanda Anderson Director, The Moorland Association
Sam Druham Chief Land Management Advisor, NFU
Sarah Robinson Assistant Director, Hope For The Future
Jon Stewart General Manager, Peak District, National Trust
Chris Wood Land Management and Conservation Advisor, National Trust
Ian Rotherham British Ecological Society Special Interest Group for Peatlands
Andrew Bauer Deputy Director of Policy, NFU Scotland
Dr Pat Thompson Senior Policy Officer (Uplands), RSPB
Peter Melchett Policy Director, The Soil Association
Davie Black Conservation Manager, Plantlife Scotland
Sarah Palmer, Agri & PR Manager, National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs
Professor Joe Holden University of Leeds
Graeme Willis Senior Rural Policy Campaigner, Campaign To Protect Rural England
Olly Watts RSPB
Alison Hallas Policy & Advocacy Officer, Ramblers
Stephen Russell Ramblers
Ben McCarthy Director fo Strategy, Plantlife
Julia Martin-Ortega Univeristy of Leeds
Tom Bliss Univeristy of Leeds and United Bank of Carbon
Anne Gray Senior Policy Officer, Scottish Land and Estates
Ed Lawrence Catchment Partnership Officer, United Utilities
Professor Steve Ormerod Cardiff University
Max Wakefield Lead Campaigner, 10:10
Matt Williams Conservationist and Wildlife Photographer
Ben Eagle Environmental and Agricultural Writer and Blogger
Adele Jones External Relations Manager, Sustainable Food Trust
*Credit as a Contirbutor of Knowledge does not represent official endorsement of The Carbon Farmer film or any of the themes discussed therein, on behlaf or the individual nor any afiliated organisation. Simply, Contributors to Knowledge have been contacted by Producer Andy Clark as a part of research for this production, and their views taken into account.