The Welsh Government has announced a new programme for the management and renewal of environmentally important peatlands in Wales, helping the country’s response to the climate crisis.
The National Peatlands Action Programme aims to ensure the nationwide delivery of existing peatland policies devised by the government, providing a single set of guidelines and advice for partners and land managers.
Peat is made up of organic carbon which has been trapped in the earth for thousands of years and plays a crucial role in naturally trapping and storing carbon.
Peat can only lock down carbon when it is actively growing and that growth can only take place in healthy habitats – whilst damaged peatlands will release carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.
Peatlands make up about 4% of the land area in Wales and require a very specific conditions to grow.
Lesley Griffiths, Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs said: “I am very pleased to launch our National Peatlands Action Programme, which will provide a single co-ordinating set of advice and guidelands to our land management partners throughout Wales.
“As we look towards fulfilling our decarbonisation goals, we need to make good use of every method we have to trap and store carbon – and peatlands are incredibly good at doing so, providing a sustainable form of carbon storage for centuries.
“Unfortunately, due to issues such as drainage, forestry, erosion and intensive management – and as the impact of the climate crisis continues, bringing them back and creating new peatlands will become increasingly difficult. As such, we need a single, unified point of co-ordination for land managers across Wales to ensure the sustainable management of our peatlands – and we look forward to working with partners on their restoration.”