Tuesday, June 22, 2021
HomeLive StreamPeat restoration on grouse moors helping cut carbon emissions, managers say

Peat restoration on grouse moors helping cut carbon emissions, managers say


Thousands of acres of peat have been restored in conservation efforts that help cut carbon emissions in the last decade, grouse moor managers have said.

A survey of members of the Moorland Association suggests they have restored 3,157 hectares (7,800 acres) of bare peat on their land in the last 10 years.

And 2,945 kilometres (1,830 miles) of old agricultural drains, put in to make the land more productive for farming, have been blocked to rewet the upland peat to protect it, reduce run-off and prevent carbon emissions escaping – helping restore the equivalent of a further 6,000 hectares (14,800 acres).

Coir log dam on West Arkengarthdale to help rewet the peat (Rosie Snowden/PA)

While there is limited scope for planting trees on peat, managers of moors in the north of England have put in 1,275 hectares (3,150) of trees in appropriate areas, the association said.

The organisation said its members had already achieved 60% of the peatland restoration work required on their land, and provided a quarter of the work needed to meet Government targets to restore 35,000 hectares by 2025.

It estimates 61,126 tonnes of carbon dioxide – which is emitted into the atmosphere from dried out, bare and damaged peat – are being saved every year because of the work to restore the landscape.

Grouse moors have been criticised by environmental groups for controlled burning of heather on peatland, to promote new growth which red grouse feed on, and which managers say is necessary to reduce wildfire risks.

A partial ban on burning heather and other vegetation on protected blanket bog has been brought in by the Government, to prevent damage to peat formation, protect wildlife habitats and help meet targets to cut emissions.

Environmentalists say the Government’s move will only cease the practice on a small number of peatlands and have called for far greater ambition in protecting and restoring peat.

Moorland Association director Amanda Anderson said the new policy, which includes licences for burning of heather on blanket bog for wildfire prevention, will mean it would take place “in the right place for the right reasons”.

A stone dam at West Arkengarthdale Moor put in to help restore the peat (West Arkengarthdale Moor/PA)


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