The first round of Discovery Grants to support the development of projects that seek to restore peatland systems to a natural and healthy state has been launched by Natural England.
It is part of the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme, through which the government intends to invest more than £50 million in peat restoration, supporting its ambition to restore around 35,000 hectares of peatland in England by the end of this Parliament.
Peatlands play a vital role in trapping carbon and provide a wealth of wider benefits such as improved ecosystems and biodiversity, better water quality and natural flood management.
However, only 13% of England’s peatlands are believes to be in a near natural state.
Applications for the first round of the Discovery Grants will close on 1st September 2021.
Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow said: “Our peatlands are remarkable habitats which provide homes for many precious species and peat holds enormous amounts of carbon. When peatlands are damaged or degraded it is estimated they release around 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, so preserving these vital habitats is hugely important in addressing the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
“The launch of the Peatland Discovery Grant will empower organisations to create their own peat restoration projects. We have recently committed to triple our historic average annual peat restoration figures and this grant which we are launching today will be critical in enabling projects to reach a stage where they can apply for our restoration grants in future.”