Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation has backed ambitious plans by Wildlife Trusts Wales to restore all Welsh peatlands by 2030.
Across the globe, peatlands occupy only 3% of the world’s land area but store over 30% of global carbon, making them essential in the fight against climate change. Restoration of these essential habitats not only utilises nature’s ability to tackle the climate crisis, but provides places to live for rare wildlife. In Wales there is a huge 90,000 hectares of peat soil, but the majority are in poor condition. This is the result of mismanagement such as draining of soils for agriculture and extraction of peat for gardening. This destruction of peatland not only results in a lack of ability to lock in carbon, but it means that peat is a source of greenhouse gas emissions.
According to Wildlife Trusts Wales, Welsh peat currently releases around 550,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere every year. If this were to continue and the carbon in peatlands in Wales was lost to the atmosphere, it would be the equivalent to 15 years’ worth of Wales’s total CO2 emissions.
The charity wants to reverse this trend by developing projects to restore all Welsh peatlands by 2030, with measures to achieve restoration in place by 2025 or before. Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation (IFCF) will play a pivotal role in this ambitious move by investing now to realise this vision. This means that carbon will be locked-up rather than being released, water will be clean due to filtration, endangered wildlife will be conserved, and Welsh homes will be protected from flood risk.
Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland and IFCF Trustee, said: “Welsh peatlands are such an invaluable part of our environment, providing essential habitats for amazing wildlife across the country and locking away massive amounts of carbon. By funding the restoration of this crucial part of our ecosystem, we are supporting the Wildlife Trust’s vision to lock up more carbon, restore nature, filter water and reduce flood risks for local communities. I am delighted that by returning the peatlands to their former glory, it will help will benefit people and the environment immediately and in the future.”