The government has announced it intends to invest more than £50 million into restoring thousands of hectares of vital peatland to protect biodiversity and tackle climate change.
The funding has been made available through the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme and builds on the governmental pledge to restore 35,000 hectares of peatland in England by the end of this Parliament. This would stop an estimated nine million tonnes of carbon emissions from reaching the atmosphere by 2050.
Peatlands are the country’s largest carbon store on land; trapping carbon; improving ecosystems; biodiversity and water quality – but only 13% are in a ‘near-natural’ state.
The restoration projects are located across England, with 800 hectares of peatland set to be restored in Northumberland, 2,600 hectares in Cornwall and Devon and 3,500 hectares in Yorkshire and Durham.
Natural England Chair, Tony Juniper, said: “Our peatlands exemplify the multiple benefits that society can reap from healthy natural systems.
“They store a vast quantity of carbon, captured from the atmosphere by plants living long ago, they purify and store water, enabling rivers to run steady and clear while at the same time reducing flood risk.
“I am delighted to see grants being awarded to ambitious and extensive proposals to restore the integrity and quality of peat systems across large landscape areas, contributing to a wider Nature Recovery Network.”