Restoring the UK's peatlands - The Wildlife Trusts

10th September 2013
Restoring the UK's peatlands - The Wildlife Trusts
The Wildlife Trusts are involved in an ambitious plan to restore four per cent of the UK’s landmass to improve water quality, alleviate flooding, aid carbon storage and help wildlife.
A million hectare challenge map is being prepared to set an ambitious target for restoring peatlands. It has huge implications for people and for business.
Peatlands cover 12% of the UK and their restoration has never been a more pressing issue - unfortunately, 80% are in a poor condition because they’ve been drained of water or damaged by extraction. Peatlands are amazingly wild places, teeming with birds, insects and unusual plants. The Wildlife Trusts are helping to protect and restore these special places around the UK. We are one of several partners involved in the exciting 2020 Million Hectare Challenge map to encourage the restoration of a million hectares of peatland over the next seven years.
The Peatland Code will encourage the private sector/businesses to invest in restoring this precious resource. Restoration is vital because peatlands:
store carbon – over three billion tonnes of carbon already stored and if repaired, they could remove an additional three million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year from the atmosphere
both store and clean water as well as help reduce flooding – there’s huge economic value in improved water quality and flood alleviation
are fantastic landscapes for wildlife - rich habitats that are home to subtle and unique wild plants and animals, and fabulous wild places for people to enjoy
Investment by businesses is key to progress. The call for private sector involvement comes at a time when water companies are being encouraged to improve water quality using upstream solutions. Restoring peatlands can play a key part in tackling water quality issues at source.
The Wildlife Trusts, all across the UK, have some inspiring peatland restoration projects. Some are in uplands and so benefit populations downstream as well as being carbon stores and wildlife havens. Others are lowland peatlands where carbon storage and nature are the chief beneficiaries.