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Peat Discovery Grant awards announced

The Government has awarded funding of over £4 million to help groups develop new projects seeking to restore peatland systems to a natural and healthy state at a landscape scale. The funding will be delivered by Natural England and will help unlock barriers to peatland restoration, enabling projects that would struggle to gain funding to be in a position to apply for future rounds of peat restoration funding. Grants have been awarded to 10 projects from across the country including in the Fens, Dorset, Somerset and Yorkshire.

Some of these projects are:

Working closely with landowners across three Internal Drainage Boards, the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) aims to use the funding to unlock barriers to restoration and develop proposals for a further Nature for Climate Peatland Grant for 500-1,500 ha of agriculturally-managed lowland fen peatland within a total area of 11,220 hectares in Cambridgeshire.

The Broads Authority in Norfolk is working on the Broads Peatland Partnership to develop a whole new approach to peat management and carbon storage in The Broads; rewetting degraded peat, adopting paludiculture* and delivering additional ecosystem benefits.

The Moors for the Future Partnership aims to develop restoration plans for 63 individual sites across the Dark Peak, Southern Pennines, West Pennines and South West Peak Staffordshire Moorlands, covering 37,614 ha of upland catchment habitat. The work will include addressing knowledge gaps in the peat resource and extensive stakeholder engagement to contribute to restoration project planning and development.

With only 13% of peatland in a near-natural state in England, Government announced the England Peat Action Plan earlier this year, setting out plans to restore, sustainably manage and protect peatlands. This will enable the restoration of at least 35,000 hectares of peatland by 2025, supported by the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme. The Government has also invested £2.7 million in the Great North Bog, a large-scale peatland restoration initiative across our sweeping expanse of blanket bog in the north of England.

Today’s announcement is part of the Government’s commitments to tackle the twin threat of biodiversity and climate change. The Environment Act will deliver the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth and drive forward action to protect nature and improve biodiversity, including through a target for species abundance for 2030, aiming to halt the decline of nature.