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In the dumps: Why Britain’s bogs are crucial in the fight against climate change

Once the sites of pagan legends and fantasy, peatlands are now a crucial lynchpin against climate disaster—but the government is failing

By Eleanor Salter  

In the UK, peatlands make up about 12 per cent of the land and store as much carbon as all the forests in the UK, Germany and France combined. Photo: Martyn Williams / Alamy Stock Photo

They’re soggy, smelly, acidic landscapes made up of decomposing vegetation. For centuries, peatlands have lived in our collective imagination as the site of pagan legends and fantasy. Now they are a crucial lynchpin in Britain’s efforts to avert climate disaster. The majority of UK peatland carpets Scotland, although large swathes can also be traced across most of Wales, down the north of England and in the Fens of eastern England. 

When healthy, peatlands help sequester carbon, reduce flooding, provide drinking water and support vibrant biodiversity. In the UK, they make up about 12 per cent of the land and store as…

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