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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Julian tells Ministers to use North Yorkshire peatlands to tackle climate change

October 23, 2019

Yesterday, Julian lobbied Andrea Leadsom, the Business Secretary, on the role Yorkshire peatlands can play in the drive to meet the government’s target of ‘net zero’ UK carbon emissions by 2050.

During questions in the House of Commons to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who is responsible for climate change policy, he said:

“Will the Secretary of State reassure me that her Department is fully assessing the potential of UK peatlands and peatland restoration in regions such as North Yorkshire, where my constituency lies, in getting us to net zero? Peatlands are a carbon sink that absorb more emissions than the world’s oceans each year.”

The Business Secretary replied: “My hon. Friend is right that peatlands have a vital role to play in delivering net zero. In addition to £10 million to help to restore more than 6,000 hectares of peatland over a three-year period, we are working with Natural England on a number of pilot projects, including one in North Yorkshire, to test our approach for moving all peatlands in England on to a path of recovery and restoration.”

On leaving the chamber, Julian said: “Maintaining and restoring our region’s upland peat landscapes is a way North Yorkshire can make a distinctive contribution to the national effort on climate change, and I think it is essential that Ministers keep this resource in mind as they elaborate plans to reach net zero emissions.

I was very encouraged to hear that serious funding is being assigned to this, and that there is already a pilot project underway in our part of the world.

The role of peatlands as a carbon sink is another reminder of the irreplaceable value of the North Yorkshire countryside, which we must never degrade or take for granted. This is why I am continuing to support local residents in their battle against an inappropriate proposed housing development which could damage the unique ecological site at Askham Bog.

We are imminently expecting the introduction of the government’s Environment Bill into the House of Commons, designed to transfer current EU environmental protections into UK law, and to put on the statute book the government’s own 25 Year Environment Plan, and its detailed measures to protect and enhance air, water, soil, landscapes and woodland.

The restoration of peatlands and other special landscapes as part of a balanced policy to combat climate change and safeguard our natural heritage should be an important part of this, and I will be scrutinising this draft law closely on behalf of York resident