Great North Bog rises to the climate challenge

The Wildlife Trusts unveil 12 new nature recovery projects – restoring peatlands, saltmarsh, kelp forests, chalk grassland, wetlands and woods – to store carbon. Among them is Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s work with the Great North Bog.

Lancashire Wildlife Trust is working with Trusts and other partners in Cumbria, Durham, Yorkshire and Northumberland to restore a huge swathe of peat bog across the north of England. The project aims to put over 4,000 hectares of upland peatland under restoration management, with estimated annual savings in carbon emissions of at least 8,590 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare, per year. Funding will scale up the project, to include:

• developing up to 15 new restoration plans

• marketing peatland restoration to private investors

• conducting long-term monitoring over 20 years with techniques and equipment developed by the IUCN UK Peatland Programme and University of Manchester

Forest of Bowland

Areas within the Forest of Bowland will see detailed restoration plans developed, including techniques to block gullies and slow the flow of water from the upland areas, allowing bare and degraded peatlands to gradually re-wet and re-vegetate. This will start to halt carbon release, along with boosting biodiversity, providing natural flood mitigation, reducing wildfire risk and even naturally filtering our drinking water.

The project is part of the Great North Bog, an ambitious, large-scale peatland restoration initiative being developed by the North Pennines AONB Partnership, Yorkshire Peat Partnership and the Moors for the Future Partnership.

The programme aims to develop a working partnership to deliver a 10-year funding, restoration and conservation plan to make a significant contribution to the UK’s climate and carbon sequestration targets.

Along with this, the 12 nature recovery projects, will help the UK achieve its ambition of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, are able to move forward thanks to almost £2 million in funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Cotton grass on Rivington Moor

Richard Burkmarr

In other areas, new seagrass habitats will be planted in the Solent, fragmented woodlands will be restored and connected throughout Derbyshire, habitat features to protect temperature-sensitive chalk grassland butterflies in Bedfordshire will be created, and support will be given to a pioneering project to rewild a kelp forest off the Sussex coast.

As the UK gears up to hosting the UN climate conference COP 26 in November, The Wildlife Trusts – a movement of 46 nature charities – are delivering on-the-ground solutions to ensure the UK plays its part in tackling the interlinked climate and nature crises.

The restoration of the natural world is fundamental to realising the ambition to restrict global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Sarah Johnson, Lancashire Peatlands Initiative Project Manager at Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said:

“When in a healthy condition the peatlands across the north of England, including those in Lancashire, can play a crucial role in tackling the twin crises of biodiversity and climate change. The People’s Postcode Lottery funding is providing a significant opportunity for us to work with partners to scale up our peatland restoration efforts, working in areas such as the Forest of Bowland.”

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says:

“Nature can be our biggest ally in limiting global temperature rises, but we have to give it a huge helping hand. We need to cut emissions at source to fight climate change – and we can also have a big impact by restoring nature because wilder places lock-up carbon. “That means repairing the amazing habitats in our seas, rewetting peatlands, dramatically changing how we manage farmland, rewilding landscapes, and bringing back habitats that have been lost. “Crucially, we need to fund projects that get results. Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we’re delighted to move forward with these 12 high-impact schemes, which will help to bring nature back and store carbon – both on land and at sea.”

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, says: “We’re delighted funding raised by our players is helping The Wildlife Trusts restore habitats across the country that play a key role in accumulating and storing carbon. By helping nature thrive, these ambitious projects offer solutions to the challenges we face from climate change so these landscapes and the wildlife there can be enjoyed by future generations. “Players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting these projects as part of our Postcode Climate Challenge initiative, which is providing 12 charities with an additional £24 million in funding for initiatives tackling climate change this year.”

Peoples Postcode Lottery

The diversity of the 12 projects reflects the vast and varied ways nature can help to tackle climate change. They also show how the UK can become a world leader in transforming its land and seas to lock in carbon and bring wildlife back as well.

 

Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have been supporting The Wildlife Trusts since 2008 and have raised over £15 million to date.

Funding has helped The Wildlife Trusts to protect wild places and wildlife, provide opportunities for children to explore nature, create outdoor learning areas, and empower people of all ages to help wildlife in their daily lives.

To find out more about The Wildlife Trusts nature-based solutions programmes, visit wildlifetrusts.org/what-we-do/natural-solutions-climate-change