On 30 September 2020, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Manchester Metropolitan University and Eurosite hosted a peatland policy makers virtual workshop. The event was entitled ‘The Climate Emergency: the role of peatlands – from ambition to action’ and aimed to bring together peatland policy makers and professionals to identify policy gaps and the actions needed to move rapidly to wide-scale adoption of alternative peatland management.
The workshop included the below presentations, interspersed with interactive breakout sessions where participants could explore topics in more depth and feedback thoughts and ideas:
- Setting the scene – Chris Field, Manchester Metropolitan University
- How and why do we need to change our management of peat?
- What is the Care-Peat project doing?
- Where we stand now – Sarah Johnson, Lancashire Wildlife Trust
- Round up of current national and local policy
- Round up of current activity demonstrating change
- Emma Goodyer, IUCN UK Peatland Programme
- Where do we need to be to achieve the ambition on peat?
- What will move us on?
- The next chapter for policy – Judith Stuart, Defra
- Outputs from recent developments in policy, research and strategy. Peat perspectives
- The next chapter for farming – Adam Briggs, NFU
- What the farming sector is doing, how it can reach net zero carbon and what help is needed
- Next steps for Care-Peat and opportunities for further involvement – Niall O’Brolchain, Insight Centre, National University of Ireland Galway
Attended by 40 delegates from DEFRA, IUCN UK Peatland Programme, Environment Agency, Natural England, local councils, UK universities and peatland restoration delivery bodies, the full report from the workshop is available below.
Barriers and Gaps covered – financial uncertainties regarding continued, sufficient income for farmers/landowners changing land use; conflicting land uses/drivers; confusing or missing governance, responsibility and regulation; lack of immediate, clear policy signals on peatland; need for more information/data on benefits/valuation, lack of established market for alternative crops; nervousness around switching to peat-free products; cultural issues and communications barriers.
Actions and Enablers covered – focus on multiple benefits of peatlands, resolve priorities/conflicts and undertake wider engagement to achieve balanced land use on peat; create clearer governance and responsibilities for peatland; creation of data hubs for sharing knowledge; alternative land use demonstrations and business cases to lead the way; engagement with horticulture industry to remove barriers to using peat-free/alternatives; ensure a dependable, sufficient level of income for landowners to change to more sustainable peatland management
Participants fed back that they found it a useful, informative session and indicated they would like to engage more on this agenda. They will be given opportunities to participate in further stakeholder events later in the project.