Natural England taking the lead in preserving English peat
Good news from Eurosite member Natural England:
England Peat Action Plan
England’s peatlands are the largest terrestrial carbon store and are vital for capturing and storing carbon. They provide a range of other valuable benefits including biodiversity-rich ecosystems, improved water quality and natural flood management, the protection of historic environment features and connecting people with nature. However, only 13% of peatlands are in a near natural state.
The new England Peat Action Plan sets out actions to reverse the decline in peatlands, which will provide a significant contribution towards nature’s recovery and the creation of the Nature Recovery Network (NRN). Restoration of England’s peatlands will be vital to addressing climate change. The England Peat Action Plan will play a critical role in delivering the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan targets and achieving Net Zero by 2050. This includes the commitment to create the NRN across the length and breadth of the country.
Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme
Through the Nature for Climate Fund, the government intends to invest over £50 million by 2025 to support the restoration of 35,000 hectares of degraded peatland in England, thereby securing 9 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent cumulatively by 2050. This represents a significant investment to restore our peatlands and Natural England is delighted to be taking the lead role in making sure these important habitats receive the increased protection they so desperately need.
The vehicle by which the funding will be delivered is the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme which is a competitive grant scheme that will run until 2025. The scheme will encourage and enable partnerships to develop much more ambitious and extensive proposals than we have ever seen before. Their aim is to restore the integrity and quality of peat systems across large landscape areas over uplands and lowlands alike, delivering nature recovery at scale.
The scheme opened on 30 April 2021 and applicants have until midday on 25 June 2021 to apply for a restoration grant in this first round. Details of the scheme and how to apply are available on GOV.UK. Discovery grants, which support applicants to gather the information needed to apply for a restoration grant in future rounds, will open to applicants later in the year.
Photo credit: Mark Owen, Natural England