Sales of peat compost to gardeners will be banned from 2024, the government has said. Ministers will also give £50m to support the restoration of 35,000 hectares of peatland by 2025, about 1% of the UK’s total. The UK’s peatlands store three times as much carbon as its forests. But the vast majority are in a degraded state, and are emitting CO 2, which drives the climate crisis. The environment secretary, George Eustice , announced £500m to fund a tripling of tree planting in England to reach 7,000 hectares a year by 2024 and said a new 2030 target for wildlife populations would be set. A species reintroduction taskforce was also unveiled, to take forward work on recovering species lost to England, such as wildcats and beavers. Restoring peatlands and increasing woodlands are vital to tackling global heating and boosting biodiversity. In terms of wildlife and wild spaces preserved from human activity, the UK is ranked 228th in the world , out of 240 countries and territories, according to the RSPB. “Peatlands are our biggest terrestrial carbon store and home to some of our rarest species,” Eustice is expected to say at a speech in Delamere Forest on Tuesday. […]

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