Bids open for £10m peatland restoration

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a £10 million fund to restore peatland across England. Peatlands cover around 11% of the country and not only provide […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a £10 million fund to restore peatland across England.

Peatlands cover around 11% of the country and not only provide a key habitat for wildlife but also store 70% of the country’s drinking water and more than 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

It is estimated as much as four fifths of this peatland is in need of restoration – projects will aim to rebuild habitats for vulnerable wildlife, reduce flood risk by slowing rain water flow and improve the quality of the peat to boost carbon capture.

The department says bids delivering the best greenhouse gas mitigation and other environmental benefits whilst offering good value for money will be favoured.

Funding will be available for three years from April 2018, with applications closing on the 20th of November 2017.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Peatlands are a vital part of the natural ecosystem that provide key habitats for wildlife, supply us with clean water and reduce carbon emissions so I encourage groups from across the country to apply for funding to restore this important habitat.

“This scheme will help fulfil our ambition to be the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state while returning thousands of hectares of peatland to their natural state.”

Earlier this year Ireland’s planning board gave approval for the continued operation of the Edenderry peat-fired power plant.