The comments made by Jim McMahon, the Shadow Environment Secretary, on 18 December 2021.
The nature emergency demands action.
Peatlands have suffered degradation for decades not just from being dug up to supply horticulture, but also by being drained and burned. Healthy peatlands – often called ‘Britain’s rainforests’ – support rich biodiversity, trap many times the carbon stored by forests, and help slow and prevent downstream flooding.
But the Conservative Government have delayed and limited action, they have committed to protecting only 40% of England’s blanket bogs from rotational burning.
On horticultural peat, gardening experts, conservationists and scientists have said the Government’s goal of a voluntary phaseout by 2020 was an ‘abject failure’, with the amount of peat sold actually rising as people turned to gardening in lockdown. That they are only just consulting on a ban lays bare their lack of commitment.
In contrast to the Conservatives’ delay and empty promises, Labour has pledged a net zero and nature test for every policy, investing £28 billion of capital a year to 2030 to meet the challenge of the climate and nature emergency head on, create certainty for business and provide leadership to seize the opportunities for the UK.