Peatland restoration vital if Northern Ireland serious about a green recovery, says Blair

Alliance Green New Deal Environment John Blair

Investing in peatland restoration is critical if we are serious about a green recovery, Alliance Environment spokesperson John Blair has said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak last year announced a fund of £640 million to plant more than 40 million trees and restore 35,000 hectares of peatland in England, with the Scottish and Welsh Governments also investing in similar schemes. The Irish Government has also approved an allocation of €108 million for a bog rehabilitation plan.

“There is a critical need to develop similar schemes in Northern Ireland, in tandem with regulatory legislative change if we are to restore our natural carbon stores,” said South Antrim MLA Mr Blair.

“Our peatlands are under threat, with pressures such as overgrazing, drainage and burning causing damage to 86 per cent of them. The result is many of our peatlands are now net emitters of greenhouse gases.

“I have raised the need for large-scale biodiversity restoration both in the Assembly Chamber and at DAERA Committee. I will continue to press on the issue, and call for large-scale peatland restoration and appropriate native tree planting, with a similar fund or relevant funding required.”