Thursday, 11 July 2013

BBC News - Call to pay landowners to save peat

Photo: IUCN Peatland Programme

The article by Roger Harrabin published by the BBC yesterday is welcome for highlighting the importance of upland peatland as a store of carbon but his argument has gone astray in several places.

With other organisations I am working to promote peatland management, including restoration where appropriate, as an integral part of moorland management and to interpret the research for landowners. Many management and restoration schemes are in progress and many more are planned. Some of these are supported by public funds through agri-environment schemes, but others are being funded privately.

Defra is supporting a large amount of work to develop a system for trading carbon and this could provide some income to contribute to management and restoration costs.

The message is very positive. A diverse range of organisations, covering policy, research and land management, are working to develop structures that will lead to the improvement of the condition of our peatlands and place them at the centre of our management of the uplands, where they deserve to be. Issues remain to be resolved but with willingness on all sides these will be resolved.

Against this background of developing cooperation Roger Harrabin's article should be seen as an aberration. Perhaps he would like to publish a more accurate follow up story - there are plenty of people who would be willing to give him a rounded picture to work with.

For a more balanced view, see the article in today's Yorkshire Post.