Peat Bogs

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 15th March 2019.

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Photo of Tony Lloyd Tony Lloyd Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the value of blanket bog peat lands to (a) carbon sequestration and (b) flood prevention.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Blanket bogs can act as a source or sink of carbon depending on their condition. Near natural condition blanket bogs sequester small amounts of carbon per hectare per year (0.7 to 2.8 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalents); however, the largest climate mitigation benefit of restoring blanket bog peatlands is from avoided emissions of greenhouse gases, rather than carbon sequestration, as degraded blanket bogs are more significant sources of greenhouse gases.

Research funded by Defra shows that restoring upland peat habitats can slow overland water flow leading to delayed and reduced peak discharge in small catchments. However, it remains difficult to demonstrate the benefits of peat management on flood prevention in larger catchments.

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