Vital Dovestone peatland to be restored to help tackle climate change and protect biodiversity

Date published: 29 August 2021

Thousands of hectares of vital peatland - including at local beauty spot Dovestone - will be restored under ambitious proposals to help tackle climate change and protect biodiversity.

In total, five new landmark projects to restore England’s peatlands to a natural and healthy state will benefit from millions of pounds through the Government’s Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme.

The Government intends to invest over £50 million in peat restoration, building on its pledge to restore approximately 35,000 hectares of peatland in England by the end of this Parliament.

As England’s largest carbon store on land, peatlands play a vital role in trapping carbon and also provide a wealth of wider benefits such as improved ecosystems and biodiversity, better water quality and natural flood management.

However, only 13% of England’s peatlands are in a near-natural state.

These new projects mark a big step towards achieving the goal to reverse the decline of England’s peatlands and will contribute to the ambitious Nature Recovery Network.

The successful Dovestone project will see the RSPB, in partnership with United Utilities, deliver a peatland restoration project that aims to restore degraded blanket bog on their partnership site, aiming to restore 941 hectares of peatland restoration.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Our peatlands are remarkable habitats which provide homes for many precious species and hold enormous amounts of carbon.

"By restoring 35,000 ha of damaged and degraded peatlands in England, nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide would be prevented from being released by 2050 which would make a significant contribution to combatting the devastating impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss.

“The projects being awarded funding will bring about much-needed peatland restoration across the country.

"We have committed to triple our historic average annual peat restoration figures and these landscape-scale projects will provide a great contribution to achieving this and accessing the wealth of benefits healthy peatlands offer.”

Applications for restoration grants opened in April, as part of the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme, a great step towards reversing the current decline in England’s peatlands.

The recently announced England Peat Action Plan also sets out a host of further actions we will take to ensure our peatlands are functioning healthily for the needs of the planet.

There are also Discovery Grants available for organisations to scope sites and develop plans for peatland restoration, enabling them to bid for future Restoration Grants.

The application window for the first round of Discovery Grants is currently open, closing on Wednesday, September 1.

The second round of Peatland Restoration Grant applications are due to be launched in early 2022.

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