2016-01-04   facebook twitter rss

Peatland Plays a Key Part in Climate Change and Flood Mitigation

On grouse moors in the North Pennines 2,560 hectares of bare peat have been re-vegetated and over 6,700 kilometres of old drainage ditches blocked to help re-wet peat, slow water run-off, combat climate change and improve biodiversity and water quality.

Work is underway to actively reintroduce peat forming mosses as part of new grouse moor management techniques to speed-up the peatland healing process.

Moorland Association members are doing their bit for climate change and flood mitigation, not just in the North Pennines but across the North of England.

Peat Bog

The following Northern Echo report, under the headline Peatbog project is keen to build on decade of success, highlights the gains.

A project to restore one of the largest areas of bare peat in England is determined to carry on its work following ten years of success.

The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s Peatland Programme was recently awarded the Climate Change Award at the Durham Environment Awards for helping tackle climate change.

And for almost a decade, the partnership has been working to repair the damaged upland peat bogs of County Durham, along with similar areas in Northumberland and Cumbria.

Bare peat has a devastating impact on the environment and the North Pennines is home to 1,000km sq of the UK’s peatland.

Years of erosion, caused by wildfires, historic overgrazing, and human disturbances, has meant greenhouse gases have leaked into the atmosphere which adds to the problem of climate change.

Thanks to the project, which has been delivered by the AONB Partnership, damaged moorland is being transformed into a moss covered landscape which is “bursting” with life and is benefiting both the environment, wildlife and the people who live and work there.

Since the project began in 2006, the AONB Partnership has used ground-breaking techniques to carry out work on this landscape which have paved the way for similar projects not just in the UK but across the world.

It has also been working with the Environment Agency and Natural England to transform the landscape while close ties have also been made with The Moorland Association and Raby Estates, as work is carried out on land in Upper Teesdale.

Paul Leadbitter, who leads the Peatlands Programme, said:
“The project started off quite small and was about trying to come to grips with the extent of peatland damage in the AONB because we have the biggest bog in England.”

Mr Leadbitter said the project was only meant to last three years but was found to be so important, that it has been extended.

“A lot of people don’t know that peatland is very important. It’s the Cinderella habitat but it never gets to the ball.”

He added: “Damaged peatlands in the UK emit about 10 per cent of the nation’s total of CO2 emissions.

“Restoring peatlands in the North Pennines AONB contributes to lower CO2 emissions nationally and is a cost effective and natural method to mitigate climate change.

“The North Pennines AONB contains the largest contiguous blanket bog in England and we will continue to work with partners to ensure our peatlands are fully restored.”

Moorland Association

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