DEFRA #omnishambles doesn’t have a clue – for peat’s sake!

In response to an information request about DEFRA’s knowledge of peat resources, following their scandalously abject policy measure to restrict burning on peatlands, this was received (not by me, I am grateful to the excellent and talented Guy Shrubsole).

The most interesting paragraph, although it is all riveting of course, is this one:

We do not currently hold a map of all peat that is 40cm or more deep. This is because it is being developed by a peat mapping project that is in commencement. Following the completion of the map, it will be published. We do hold some limited data at: https://magic.defra.gov.uk/MagicMap.aspx. From the Table of Contents, select ‘Landscapes’, followed by ‘Geology and Soils’, and ‘Soilscape (England)’. This will show a map of peat soils in England, although it does not demonstrate the depth of peat.

So, you may remember that after delay after delay after delay, DEFRA announced measures to protect ‘England’s national rainforests’ aka peatlands in areas where the peat depth is >40cm, which were roundly condemned by environmentalists as being no use at all, and roundly condemned by parliamentarians as being no use at all and now we learn that DEFRA doesn’t know much, and certainly doesn’t know where these peatlands are.

DEFRA should be banning burning on all peatlands with very few exceptions.

DEFRA omnishambles

Photo: Sarah Hanson
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5 Replies to “DEFRA #omnishambles doesn’t have a clue – for peat’s sake!”

  1. This is just one more confirmation, if one was required, of the total disgrace that Defra and therefore this Government is.
    One cannot rely whatsoever on any of their their statements on anything. It is all just propaganda and totally misleading. While one probably cannot actually accuse them of fibbing it must come pretty close to it at times. Generally all their misleading fluff is in support of those who shoot our wildlife for fun.
    Any other organisation that behaved like Defra would have gone out of business long ago.

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  2. I thought that it was "the law" that before government implements an new law (or order) there had to undertake a range of impact assessments. To prevent unintended consequences or costs, this covers both environmental and economic implications.

    How can they assess the impact of their actions if they do not know what the scale of the impact is going to be?

    Bad Law in the making.

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  3. Can't say it is a surprise, not with this government. They make announcements to get in the news cycle, not to actually govern. It is always business as normal as soon as the headlines fade. It is always designed to sound good in a newsplash, but be unworkable in practice. The Tories want to rule, not govern.

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  4. This is interesting in respect to the tree planting of deep peat at Berrier Farm in Cumbria (Miles King - 6 Nov 2020) - where the question of available data came up quite rightly over whether a clear warning that this was deep peat and should not have been planted came up. At the time it was, I think, suggested that a data set did in fact exist but was not available to the people who proposed & approved the scheme. I'm not sure the Defra response answers the question - but it does make quite clear how important this issue is, not just for muirburn.

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