In the week leading up to International Bog Day on 25 July Environment Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, visited Peatland Park to see the work carried out by the CANN partnership to restore lowland bog at Peatlands Park.
During a tour of the peatland activity led by Ulster Wildlife, the Minister was shown some of the conservation measures that have been implemented. These included control of Rhododendron, blocking ditches and the trialling of a bog moss restoration method pioneered in Canada.
Speaking after the tour, Minister Poots said: “My Department recognise the importance of peatland restoration as a nature-based solution for addressing the climate and biodiversity crisis. I am pleased to see at first hand the work being undertaken at Peatlands Park SAC by Ulster Wildlife and their partners, in collaboration with my Department as owner of the park.
“I congratulate all of those who have partnered in this project. I recognise the success of the CANN project and the important role that Interreg Va has played in funding these important nature recovery programmes. DAERA will continue to work in partnership with other organisations to source funding for peatland restoration."
The Minister was also given the opportunity to hear and discuss with Ulster Wildlife their forward research on peatlands for COP26 that aims to enhance the evidence on peatland condition, Greenhouse Gas emissions and restoration potential through their Accelerating Peatland Restoration Project.
The Minister concluded: “I welcome Ulster Wildlife’s efforts in supporting delivery of Northern Ireland’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 Net Zero target for greenhouse gas emissions, as set out by the Committee on Climate Change.
“A public consultation on a draft Northern Ireland Peatland Strategy was launched on the 9 June 2021 and I am keen to hear a range of views about our proposals to take forward peatland conservation and restoration over the next two decades."
Ian Garner, Ulster Wildlife said: “The Accelerating Peatland Restoration project will greatly improve our knowledge on the extent of our peatlands, their condition and Greenhouse Gas emissions. It is a collaborative project between The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, DAERA, Ulster Wildlife and The James Hutton Institute, which brings its expertise from similar work on Scottish peatlands.
“The Project will input to COP26 evidence and support strategic planning of future management approaches for peatlands, addressing the urgent need to restore our peatlands for long-term reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions and to reverse the loss of biodiversity. Accelerating Peatland Restoration Project will inform the DAEARA Peatland Strategy and we encourage anyone with an interest in conservation to respond to the DAERA Peatlands Strategy consultation.”
The public consultation on the draft Northern Ireland Peatland Strategy 2021-2040 is open until 1 September 2021 and is available on the DAERA website - https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/consultations/ni-peatland-strategy-consultation