‘A wholly centralised, top-down system of governance is not fit for purpose in tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergency.’
A Quaker and bioregional expert has raised doubts about the Scottish government’s plans for peat restoration, as speculation rises that pledges to ban peat-burning across the UK are being stalled.
Government advisors signalled it would outlaw the environmentally damaging practice of burning peat bogs in January 2020 but since then rumours have emerged that the plans have been put on hold in a further nod to the practice of grouse shooting. Campaigners have long opposed the practice of burning peat bogs to encourage new heather shoots, which is a source of food for grouse.
Writing in the Central Edinburgh newsletter Terrace Talk, Quaker Ed Tyler and senior tutor in the Permaculture Association says he is concerned about the mismanagement of peat. With nearly three-quarters of Scotland covered in either shallow or deep peat, he says, ‘Scotland’s peatlands have such huge scope for carbon sequestration!’
The problem is that ‘much peat in our blanket bogs is now severely degraded. Causes include overgrazing and trampling, draining, repeat burning – and the planting of trees.’
He is also concerned that the Scottish government’s current push to plant trees and invest in peatland restoration may cause similar degradation unless managed correctly.
Working with a team of bioregional practitioners, the Quaker is also producing a series of maps for the Clyde region to help identify work needed for the climate crisis. The most important benefit of the project, he said, will be ‘to provide a policy/planning/action framework for tackling the joint Climate and Ecological Emergency. Through this work everyone living in the Clyde region can get to know the amazing suite of resources there and how they have been managed/mismanaged throughout history: fisheries, timber, fresh/drinking water, soil, coal, clean air, to name a few.’
‘We will identify what resources are in trouble… Bioregioning thinking considers that the people living and working in the area are best placed to understand and manage these resources sustainably.’
Ed Tyler added that the team is already engaging with academics at various Scottish universities and hope to influence policy makers. ‘A wholly centralised, top-down system of governance is not fit for purpose in tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergency.’
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