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Revitalising England's iconic peatlands with a £16 million boost in climate solutions

Thousands of hectares of peatlands across England are set to undergo restoration, thanks to the UK government’s £16 million investment in 12 new projects. This initiative aims to address climate impacts and biodiversity loss. The government's total commitment to peatland restoration amounts to over £50 million to restore approximately 35,000 hectares of peatland in England by the end of the current parliamentary term. 

Revitalising Englands iconic peatlands_Sheep grazing surrounded by blooming purple heather in the Peak District National Park_visual 1Sheep grazing surrounded by blooming purple heather in the Peak District National Park, England.

Peatlands, often referred to as the UK’s ‘national rainforest’, possess more than half of England's terrestrial carbon stores. In addition to providing habitats for wildlife, they play a crucial role in maintaining water quality and natural flood control.

Read more: Peatland restoration: Why it's crucial and how to pay for it

Presently, 87% of England's peatlands, including lowland ones, are in a degraded state, emitting substantial carbon dioxide annually. The government funding will facilitate the restoration of these areas, enhancing their ability to support wildlife, manage water quality, and mitigate flooding risks. The restoration projects span from Somerset to County Durham and encompass iconic peatland habitats like the Great North Bog, Dorset Heaths, and the Lincolnshire Fens.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow emphasised the urgency of action, stating, ‘Our peatlands hold over half of our terrestrial store of carbon, but with just 1% in a near natural state and soils drying out we must take urgent action to prevent further carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere.’

Chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper, highlighted the multifaceted benefits of peatlands. He noted their significance as carbon stores, water filters, flood defences, and wildlife habitats. The restoration of peatlands will protect and amplify these advantages for future generations.

Read more: UK implements mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain framework

The government's commitment to sustainable peatland management includes the launch of the £2 million Lowland Agricultural Peat Water Discovery Pilot. This initiative aims to explore more water-friendly practices in lowland peat areas, aligning with net zero and sustainable agriculture goals.

Philip Duffy, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, urged those involved in lowland peat management to participate in the pilot, recognising the potential of improved management to combat climate change, boost biodiversity, and support sustainable agriculture.

This move complements the June announcement of measures to reduce carbon emissions in lowland peat and the commitment to act on the recommendations for sustainable peatland management put forward by the Lowland Agricultural Peat Task Force.

The capacity to drive a positive impact lies with us all. Join us on this transformative journey, and together, let's champion nature in the most accessible and transparent manner possible. At DGB Group, we focus on providing inclusive opportunities for all to engage in nature conservation. Through collaborative efforts, let's shape a future where our actions actively revive and safeguard our invaluable ecosystems, leaving an enduring legacy for generations to come.

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