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Peat plan good news for Ilkley Moor conservation
12:00pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in Local news
The UK branch of the International Union for Conservation of Nature held a conference in York this month to consider ways of improving the conservation of peatland in Britain, with particular reference to carbon storage and wildlife.
They were calling for a third of the country’s peatlands, covering a million hectares or almost 2.5 million acres, to be in good condition or under restoration schemes by 2020.
Ken Cooke, of Friends of Ilkley Moor, said: “Our Pennine moors are a significant part of the UK peatlands. Obviously local initiatives are playing a part in the bigger picture.
“Erosion of peat by ‘boot pressure’ is a serious element in our heavily-visited locality. Popular routes become trampled and widened, resulting in ruts and rivulets causing run-off. It may seem odd, but we need to keep the moors wet.
“This favours peat production and moderates the flow of water down the slopes. In turn, this reduces the risk of flash floods and facilitates a more regular flow to the rivers – important for our domestic water supply.
“Hard surfacing of footpaths on Ilkley Moor attracted some adverse criticism, but it is vital in the context of limiting erosion. Likewise, other works by FOIM and BMDC Countryside Service such as bracken control and managed drainage are essential factors in conserving peat as well as other parts of the natural habitat.”
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