Farming News - Peatland owners offered funding to prepare for restoration

Peatland owners offered funding to prepare for restoration

As Wales' peatland restoration activity accelerates, a new round of Development Grants offering people between £10,000 - £30,000 to fund 'shovel-ready' restoration projects is set to open on 13 October. 

Peatland is the most valuable land resource in Wales for carbon, given its potential to store 30% of soil-based carbon. Yet, as the estimated 90% of Welsh peatlands in a damaged condition emit greenhouse gases, restoration is vital to address both the nature and climate emergencies.

The Development Grant funds the preparations needed to deliver peatland restoration. The applications will detail site-specific measures identified to prepare an actionable restoration plan; these could include peat, hydrology and habitat surveys, consents and community consultation, and other preparations.

Significant planning and preparation are required to restore peatland habitats. The supply of shovel-ready projects is essential to enable sustained peatland restoration for the long term. This Grant is a critical component in the effort to increase Wales' capacity to restore peatlands at the scale and pace necessary to deliver against its decarbonisation, adaptation and biodiversity commitments. 

Mannon Lewis who leads on the National Peatland Action Programme explained: "This start-up Development Grant aims to encourage landowners to understand their peatland and develop a plan so that they're shovel-ready for restoration. Successful applicants will show how the funding will develop an actionable peatland restoration plan. Once the restoration plan is in place, options to progress to restoration action include our follow-on competitive Delivery Grant (£50K-£250K)."

The funding pot for this third round of Development Grants totals £100,000 and free guidance webinars, held on 27 October, will be available for potential applicants. Access to the Development Grants application process is through the National Peatland Action Programme webpage.

Climate Change Minister, Julie James said: "We've seen increasing rates of peatland restoration in recent years, but there is still so much we need to do for us to accelerate restoration. It's our greatest terrestrial carbon sink and by funding Project Development Grants, we are taking an important step to accelerate restoration efforts. This is a long-term endeavour. Preparing now, will help us build capacity to go further, faster in the future. I encourage those with peatland to apply for this funding, as healthy peatlands help protect against the climate emergency."

Funded by Welsh Government and managed by Natural Resources Wales, the National Peatland Action Programme (NPAP) is tasked by Welsh Government to lead with a cohesive approach to Wales Peatland Action through funding, standardised monitoring and reporting, and stakeholder liaison to share good practice. Peatland restoration contributes to the national efforts to address the climate and nature emergencies.

The recorded peatlands of Wales can be found on the open access Wales Peatland Data Portal, where on-going peatland restoration will also be recorded.

The Development Grant is part of NPAP's more extensive peatland restoration action funded by Welsh Government to the value of over £2.5 million over the next two years. To maximise Wales peatland action, the programme also allocates Delivery Grants and strategic delivery funding to key partners such as the national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and conservation agencies across Wales.