September 27, 2021

The implications of peat importation on climate policies in Ireland

ireland peat bogs

Environmental experts believe climate and biodiversity policies require much more detailed planning procedures. Horticulturalists from Ireland have started importing peat used as a growth medium instead of sourcing it locally. The first process travelled more than 3000km. 

According to the industry body, Growing Media Ireland, the average transport distance used to stand at around 10 km. The concern relates to dramatically increasing the carbon footprint of horticultural peat in Ireland when the main reason extraction came to an end was to prevent additional carbon emissions from bogs in Ireland and restore them as vital carbon sinks. 

Last week, members of the Oireachtas agricultural committee voiced their concern towards the Minister of State for Heritage believing the announcement contradicted the green agenda, at the expense of businesses, workers and customers. 

The Minister explained the decision to stop the extraction of horticultural peat on bogs wasn’t to do with government policy but the result of a complex planning process between Friends of the Irish Environment against peat producers. 

The main concern is the UK Government’s obligation to move quicker in resolving the development of a climate-friendly alternative to peat. The recent developments highlight that climate and biodiversity policies require much more coherent and detailed planning within the framework of a standard metric, such as offered by natural capital accounting.