Peatland projects rise to the climate challenge
We are working with Trusts and other partners in Yorkshire, Durham, Lancashire and Northumberland to restore a huge swathe of peat bog across the north of England. The peatland projects, including the Great North Bog, aim to put over 4,000 acres of upland peatland bog across the north of England under restoration management.
All 12 nature recovery projects, which will help the UK achieve its ambition of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, are able to move forward thanks to almost £2 million in funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Heidi Buck, Peatlands Officer for Cumbria Wildlife Trust, is working on peatland restoration in Cumbria, and has already started surveying new peatland sites across the county. She’ll be developing plans for how best to manage and restore them. “We’re grateful for the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery for this important project, which will enable us to keep restoring Cumbria’s precious but damaged peatlands. Our recent survey found that over 95% of peatlands surveyed in Cumbria were in poor management condition, so it’s crucial that we do what we can to repair them, for the sake of wildlife and the environment.”
Heidi explains why repairing peatlands is important: “Damaged peatlands release CO2. into the atmosphere, so it’s hugely important to address this for the climate crisis. We estimate that in their current condition, the Cumbrian peatlands are releasing the equivalent of 222,769 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. Repaired peatlands will not only lock in CO2., to stop it leaking out into the atmosphere. They also improve the water quality on the sites and reduce the risk of flooding downstream. They create wetlands teeming with wildlife, supporting plants such as sundews, butterwort and bladderworts. Curlew, golden plover and snipe breed in summer on Cumbria’s peat bogs, and short-eared owls and hen harriers hunt across these areas too.”
Heidi continues: “As part of the Cumbria Peat Partnership, at Cumbria Wildlife Trust we’ve been using our conservation expertise to help farmers and commoners restore peatlands for eight years now. We’ve been working with partners to repair peatlands at sites including Bampton Common, Shap Fells, Mardale Common, Matterdale Common and Grayrigg Pike. For the new project, we’ll be identifying further sites for restoration and making a bid for government funding to carry out the work in the coming years.”
Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, says: “We’re delighted funding raised by our players is helping The Wildlife Trusts restore habitats across the country that play a key role in accumulating and storing carbon. By helping nature thrive, these ambitious projects offer solutions to the challenges we face from climate change so these landscapes and the wildlife there can be enjoyed by future generations.
“Players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting these projects as part of our Postcode Climate Challenge initiative, which is providing 12 charities with an additional £24 million in funding for initiatives tackling climate change this year.”
Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have been supporting The Wildlife Trusts since 2008 and have raised over £15 million to date.
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