Peatlands

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at on 23 June 2022.

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Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

What steps the Government are taking to help to protect and enhance peatlands.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We have a genuine focus on protecting and enhancing our peatlands, because that helps to tackle net zero and add to wider ecosystem services. We have an England peat action plan and a nature for climate fund, £4.8 million of which is to restore 3,500 hectares of blanket bog in the Pennines. That forms part of a bigger initiative working with the great northern bog.

Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

I thank the Minister for that answer. The North Pennines area of outstanding natural beauty contains some of the largest areas of blanket peat bog in the UK. Peat can trap up to four times as much carbon dioxide as woodland. The peatland code provides a real opportunity for the voluntary carbon market to show it has quantifiable and additional benefits for the environment. What are the Government doing to highlight that and enable more environmental opportunities for areas of blanket bog peatlands, and ensure that environmental schemes are concentrated on where they can do the most good and not taking up—

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My hon. Friend is absolutely right about the value that restoring peat can bring to us. That is why we have nearly 100 restoration projects across the UK registered with the peatland code, which he referenced, enabling the restoration of nearly 14,000 hectares of peatland. Through the natural environment investment readiness fund and the peatland grant scheme, we are also developing a lot of pipeline investing projects that will bring forward all the things he is highlighting.