Peat & Peatlands (Northern Ireland Assembly Report)

Northern Ireland

The JNCC National Soil Map indicates that 24.6% of NI is covered by peat.

A new peat map was developed by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in 2017 based on the British Geological Survey (BGS) superficial geology dataset, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) soil survey, and the 1988 NI peat survey.

The CEH mapping identified a total peat extent of 242,622 ha

It is estimated that 86% of NI’s peatlands are in a degraded state due to drainage, overgrazing, afforestation, burning and extraction

Summary of peatland categories and conditions in NI. A baseline of 2007 was used.

Source: CEH (2017)

In NI, the power to grant permission for industrial peat extraction lies with the planning authorities.

DAERA is a statutory consultee, but does not hold information on the location or current and projected extraction rates from approved sites

There is currently no national peatland strategy for NI, however the DAERA Minister, Edwin Poots, has stated that a NI peatland strategy is being developed

Approximately 1% of NI’s peatlands have been restored in the past 30 years

DAERA have committed to the following initiatives to support the restoration of peatland habitats and ecosystems in NI77;

– The Environment Fund and its Challenge Funds – A Green Recovery Challenge Fund is under development for 2021/22;
– The development of a Resilient Peatland Programme;
– The development of future Agri-Environment schemes;
– The implementation of the “Forests for our Future” programme; and
– The development of new EU Peace Plus Programme 2021-27

Republic of Ireland

Peat soils cover ~21% of the RoI, with a total peatland area of 1,564,650 hectares (figure 5). RoI has a comparable peatland coverage to Scotland.

It is estimated that only 10% of raised bogs and 28% of blanket bogs are in a natural state.

Summary of the peatland habitats in RoI and their condition:


Looking at HS 2703 for Northern Ireland which is “Peat (including peat litter), whether or not agglomerated” there have been €17,073,647 worth of imports and €7,411,179 worth of exports in January to August 2021 (August being the latest month for which data is available).

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