Grant scheme for peatland restoration projects opens for applications

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

Natural England has launched the first round of Discovery Grants, as part of the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme, to help support the development of new projects which seek to restore peatland systems to a natural and healthy state across the country.

Through the Scheme, the Government intends to invest over £50 million in peat restoration and has pledged to restore approximately 35,000ha of peatland in England by the end of this Parliament.

Natural England Chair, Tony Juniper, commented on the announcements: “Our peatlands exemplify the multiple benefits society can reap from healthy natural systems.

“They store a vast quantity of carbon, captured from the atmosphere by plants living long ago, they purify and store water, enabling rivers to run steady and clear while at the same time reducing flood risk.

“They are also wonderful wildlife habitats, supporting some of our most iconic species, and peat covers some of our most beautiful landscapes, including in the National Parks that we hope during the years ahead even more people will enjoy.

“By restoring peatlands, we can protect and increase all of these valuable benefits.

“Our new grant is a vital foot-up, encouraging and enabling partnerships to develop much more ambitious and extensive proposals to restore the integrity and quality of peat systems across large landscape areas, contributing to a wider Nature Recovery Network.

“I am really looking forward to seeing how they progress and we urge any interested groups to apply for a Discovery Grant.”

Accompanying the main Restoration Grants, the Discovery Grants are available for organisations to scope and develop sites for peatland restoration.

As England’s largest carbon store on land, peatlands play a vital role in trapping carbon, and also 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 in a near natural state.

These Discovery Grants provide applicants with the opportunity to receive financial support to develop ambitious restoration proposals, making a difference to England’s peatland habitats.

There will be two rounds of bidding, with applications for the first round of Discovery Grants closing on Wednesday 1st of September.

Applications for the Discovery Grant funding may include:

  • developing new peat partnerships and projects and engaging new partners or landowners
  • building capacity and capability in emerging peat partnerships
  • exploring opportunities for private investment funding
  • developing site understanding, including baseline monitoring, hydrological and ecological surveys or historic environment assessments

More information about the grant scheme is available on the government website.