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UK wants to get rid of UK peat in commercial horticulture

In the recent report 'A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment', the UK government outlines measures to improve the environment in the country. One of those is the phasing out of peat in horticulture:

"Our peat bogs and fens are important habitats that provide food and shelter for wildlife, help with flood management, improve water quality and play a part in climate regulation. Most peat soils support ecosystems that are sensitive to human activities including drainage, grazing, liming and afforestation. This makes them susceptible to degradation if poorly managed.

"Over the last 200 years, we have lost 84% of our fertile peat topsoil in East Anglia. The fens there could lose the remainder in just 30-60 years given current land management practices and a changing climate."

"While peatlands are our largest terrestrial carbon store, drained peatlands release their carbon, adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Organic or peat soils make up 11% of England’s total land area, over 70% of which are drained or in poor condition. Although our drained lowland peatland makes up only a small proportion of the agricultural land in England, these are among our most fertile soils and play an important part in the nation’s food supply. Conventional agricultural production using current techniques on drained peatland is, however, inherently unsustainable."

"In view of this, we intend to create and deliver a new ambitious framework for peat restoration in England. Where it is not appropriate to restore lowland peat, we will develop new sustainable management measures to make sure that the topsoil is retained for as long as possible and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced."

The full report can be accessed here.

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