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Action needed on blanket bogs on peat uplands

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

Hebden Royd Town Council's Climate Emergency Committee has recently reviewed important new research on the health and condition of the peat uplands surrounding the district.

Blanket bogs' unfavourable condition

The report, undertaken by the Moors for the Future partnership on behalf of Calderdale Council and the Environment Agency, found that Calderdale blanket bogs are almost entirely in "unfavourable but recovering" ecological condition.

Increased the risk of flooding

Blanket bogs in this state significantly increase the risk of flooding. This is because overland flow through blanket bog in a damaged or degraded condition accounts for up to 80% of water movement across the kind of blanket bogs found in the local area.

Emitting C02

Instead of storing carbon, the deep peat areas of Calderdale are emitting approximately 29,871 tonnes of CO2 each year. Further, they will continue to do so unless restoration is undertaken to change this. It estimates that the cost of restoring the areas worst affected could be around £12 million. Recommendations include that more detailed site-specific surveys are undertaken to determine the exact nature and locations where restoration works could be implemented.

Peatlands are a critical resource

The report further noted that peatlands are a critical resource in combating climate change. However, historically, the blanket bogs of the South Pennines have been degraded due to drainage works, commercial afforestation, outbreaks of wildfire, and atmospheric pollution.

Programme of recovery

HRTC Climate Emergency Committee noted the findings of the report as serious, and resolved to lobby the Calderdale Flood Board, asking it to take this research and turn it into a programme of properly funded restoration work that can be successfully implemented before 2030.

For more information, read the full report here

Alternatively, please email Hebden Royd Town Councilor telephone 01422 842181.