Peatland restoration project in north of England gets a boost

A number of conservation charities in the north of England are aiming to collectively restore more than 4,000 acres of peat bog across the area.

The Great North Bog and other newly-announced nature restoration projects have been backed by almost £2 million in funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery.

As part of The Great North Bog peatland restoration, Lancashire Wildlife Trust is working with Trusts and other partners in Cumbria, Durham, Yorkshire and Northumberland to restore a huge swathe of peat bog across the north of England. The project aims to put over 4,000 hectares of upland peatland under restoration management, with estimated annual savings in carbon emissions of at least 8,590 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare, per year.

For thousands of years, peatlands have stretched across the North of England. The most ancient and iconic of landscapes – a mosaic of vibrant greens, reds and purples, these peatlands are crucial to the environment. But during the 1950s and 1960s, the government attempted to drain the land in Yorkshire to make it more productive for agriculture, damaging the natural ecosystem.

Globally, peatlands are the largest store of carbon on land. The carbon locked in peat is estimated to be twice that stored in all the forests across the world. Another benefit of peatlands is that they offer an important flood defence by slowing the flow of water down from the hills – reducing the risk of flooding further downstream.

Peatlands are also teeming with wildlife. In the north of England, peatlands are home to curlew, golden plover, common lizards and field voles.

The new funding, recently announced by the People’s Postcode Lottery, will scale up The Great North Bog project to developing up to 15 new restoration plans, marketing peatland restoration to private investors, and conducting long-term monitoring over 20 years with techniques and equipment developed by the IUCN UK Peatland Programme and University of Manchester.

Sarah Johnson, Lancashire Peatlands Initiative Project Manager at Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: “When in a healthy condition the peatlands across the north of England, including those in Lancashire, can play a crucial role in tackling the twin crises of biodiversity and climate change.”

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. 

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