£1.1 million of Nature for Climate funding to restore precious North West peatlands

£1.1 million of Nature for Climate funding to restore precious North West peatlands

Peatlands the size of 250 football pitches will be restored across Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria, thanks to funding from the Government’s Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme, bringing many benefits for people, wildlife and helping to fight climate change.
Image of Foulshaw Moss peatland © Ian Alexander Waite

Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve. Healthy peatlands like this are the UK’s largest carbon store  © Ian Alexander Waite

This funding will make a significant contribution to helping meet the UK’s net zero climate targets
Stephen Trotter, CEO
Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Peatlands are England’s largest natural land carbon store, storing the equivalent amount of carbon as found in all of the forests of the UK, France and Germany combined. However, it is estimated that only 13% of England’s peatlands are in good condition, with degraded and drained peatlands actively emitting carbon into the atmosphere – and contributing to climate change.

The Northern Lowland Peatland Coalition - which includes the Lancashire and Cumbria Peat Partnerships - and the Great Manchester Wetlands Partnership, has identified a suite of peatlands across the North West that are in need of restoration. Sixteen sites stretching from north Cumbria, through Lancashire, via areas of the once extensive Greater Manchester Mosses, to the Mersey floodplain will be restored, with three sites in Cumbria at Black Moss, Bowness Common and Wedholme Flow. The Cumbria sites cover 99 hectares – that’s around the size of 70 football pitches.

Stephen Trotter, Chief Executive of Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: “This funding will make a significant contribution to helping meet the UK’s net zero climate targets by keeping carbon locked away safely in the peat which sits beneath the surface. Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester has the largest remaining extent of lowland raised bog in England and the partners involved have been at the forefront of work to help this rare priority habitat to recover from previous damage.”

Stephen continued: “We know there are many more bogs in Cumbria that urgently need attention.  We’ll be looking for further funding from the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme to restore more areas peatland right across the north-west of England.”

Northern Lowland Peatland Coalition Co-ordinator, Sarah Johnson of Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said, “This funding is great news for our regions’ peatlands. Our lowland peatlands play an important role in climate regulation and when functioning well as a bog can act as a valuable carbon sink, locking potentially harmful carbon away into their peaty soils for millennia.”

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, commented: “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, 9 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.”

image of a curlew with beak open -copyright damian waters drumimages.co.uk

Endangered curlew breed on lowland peatlands © Damian Waters - drumimages.co.uk