Research has shown that restored peatland achieves a variety of natural capital objectives, including carbon sequestration, water regulation and quality, optimising biodiversity, preserving archaeology, and minimising wildfire hazards. A 2019 BEIS report stated that a near natural bog can remove the equivalent of 3.54 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year, and a near natural fen can remove 5.44 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year. We are working towards reducing England’s peatland annual greenhouse gas emissions through restoration, and the Government has committed £640 million through the Nature for Climate Fund part of which will deliver 35,000 hectares of peatland restoration by 2025.
The Government also continues to be committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England. The biggest user of peat is the amateur sector and this is an important part of our policy focus. We signalled to the industry that if we have not seen sufficient movement to peat alternatives by 2020, then we would look at further measures that could be taken, and we are currently considering what these potential further measures could look like.