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National Committee of the United Kingdom

Mr. R.A. Robertson
16 Airyhall Place
Aberdeen AB15 7RH
Phone: +44 1224 498200
Fax: +44 1224 311 556
E-mail: a.robertson (at) hutton.ac.uk new!
Web: www.mluri.sari.ac.uk

Prof. Jack Rieley
The Pingle
1 Closes Side Lane
East Bridgford
Nottingham NG13 8NA
Phone: +44 1949 20920
E-mail: jack.rieley (at) btinternet.com

Annual Report 2010

Again, this year’s activities have focussed on consolidating the UK IPS membership through the UK Peat Society. We lost some members through retirement but gained a few to compensate.  We maintain a mix of individual and corporate members.

It was not possible to hold a meeting of members this year owing to lack of interest and absence of another meeting onto which we could have grafted ours.

Peat and peatlands have been in focus in the UK during the last year with the IUCN Peatland Programme conference in Durham on ”Investing in Peatlands: the Climate Challenge”that was  attended by 250 peatland scientists and managers.

The IUCN UK Committee is holding their next conference in Stirling on 20-22 June 2011 and if possible a meeting of the UK Peat Society will be held there.

The new UK Government Natural Environment Minister, Richard Benyon, has called for the elimination of peat from the amateur gardeners market by 2020 and its use by all gardeners, growers and procurers by 2030. This was the policy of the previous Government.

This UK Government has opened consultation on proposals for a new policy to reduce the horticultural use of peat in England. This ends on 11th March 2011. More information can be found at: www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/peat/index.htm.

Annual Report 2009

Most of this year’s activities have been focussed on consolidating the UK Peat Society that was formed at the IPS Convention in Belfast last April. Membership has now risen back near to what it was at the peak of five years ago. We now have a good mix of individual and corporate members.

Since the successful IPS Convention and Seminar at Belfast a year ago activity has been low.

If sufficient UK members attend the 2010 Convention in Jyväskylä, Finland in June we shall hold a meeting of the UK Peat Society.

In the meantime we are looking to other opportunities in the UK to meet and discuss future activities.

Annual Report 2008

Most of this year’s activities have been focused on re-establishing the UK National Committee and consolidating its membership. The Secretary for many years resigned without handing over any of the membership or financial information and as an interim measure the IPS Executive Board at its meeting in Jyväskylä, Finland in November 2008 appointed Jack Rieley as Secretary/Treasurer and Allan Robertson as Chairman to run the affairs of the NC until a meeting of members can be held to elect officers and Executive Committee members.

It has taken almost 9 months to gain access to the bank account and transfer the mandate to the interim Chairman and Secretary/Treasurer. This has now been accomplished but the financial situation is poor because membership fees have not been collected from many members for several years. Members have been informed and they are mostly very supportive. Things are now being placed on a more efficient footing and plans are being made for future meetings and events.

Individual members are mostly renewing their subscriptions and even paying some arrears of fees but unfortunately, we seem to have lost contact with a number of our corporate industry members who were allied to the IPS through the Peat Producers Association of the UK and Ireland until its demise around 2004. All have been contacted and a few have now paid subscriptions for 2009 but others have not responded to frequent E-mails and information sent to them. I hope this will change over the next few months.

In our attempts to regroup and reactivate the UKNC we have taken on the organization of the IPS 2009 Convention in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 24 - 26 April and especially the seminar, workshop and excursion that are being held jointly with the Irish Peat Society. We are already ensured of a large audience for the seminar/workshop and a full excursion bus. In Belfast we shall also hold the AGM of the UKNC, elect office bearers and committee and make plans for the future. On the agenda is an exciting proposal to formally re-establish the UK National Committee of IPS as a platform to coordinate all those in the UK with interests in peat and peatlands. We intend to go from strength to strength.