The North Pennines team has been running its peatland programme since 2006.
In that time, working with supportive landowners, excellent contractors and other partners, we have led the restoration of 48,000ha of upland peatland – an area nearly 4x the size of Newcastle.
The North Pennines team is a founding member of the Great North Bog coalition, and is working with partner peat programmes to restore peatland across the northern uplands.
Courtesy of North Pennines National Landscape
What was done and why
For Nature Conservation and Restoration
Bare and eroding peatland in the Northern uplands is a significant source of carbon emissions, but in the North Pennines, the National Landscape team has been leading the way in restoring this habitat for all the multiple benefits it brings to people and nature.
The task of blocking over 10,000km of moorland drains (‘grips’), and restoring thousands of hectares of bare and eroding peatland, involves a thorough process of relationship building and collaboration with landowners and managers, and complex survey and monitoring work that helps us make the right interventions in the right places and learn lessons for the future.
In restoring 48,000ha of peatland the team has taken direct action for nature and climate – reducing carbon emissions and enabling enhanced carbon storage, protecting and restoring priority habitats for key species and improving the hydrological functioning of our uplands.
For Connecting People with Nature
As well as getting many volunteers out helping with survey and restoration work, the North Pennines team’s peatland programme has engaged hundreds of schoolchildren in work celebrating their peatland heritage through artistic expression.
We also worked with partners on the Eyes on the Bog programme to introduce local children to their peatland heritage.
For Resilience and Employment
Our work has made our peatlands much more climate resilient. Damaged peatlands worldwide emit more carbon dioxide than the air travel industry, and so in addressing this issue we’re making a national and international level contribution to mitigating the impacts of climate change.
At the same time we’re reducing the impacts of downstream flooding and managing water colour and quality in our rivers.
This work doesn’t only support the local economy by addressing climate change and flood risk. We’ve created 8 paid Graduate Traineeships, with young people being employed to work alongside the team and partners for 12 months at a time.
All of them have gone on to full-time employment in the sector, several within the North Pennines team.
We’ve also invested several million pounds in local contracting businesses and helped them build their skills and expertise to restoration work in the long term.
The North Pennines team and our Great North Bog partners are leading the way in generating green finance for conservation work in the UK. The North Pennines Peatland Programme was recently identified by the UN Environment Programme as ‘an organisation that is delivering at scale and pace and not just talking about it’, whilst the head of Eurosite described the North Pennines team as ‘the Swiss Army Knife of peatland restoration’.
- 48,000 ha of upland peatland restored – 4 x the size of Newcastle.
- Blocked reprofiled, surveyed 10,000km of moorland grips.
- The avoided carbon losses arising from our work are equivalent to the annual emissions from over 1 million UK homes, or taking over 7000 cars off UK roads each year.
- Detailed mapping of North Pennines peatland and developing expertise in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle survey and monitoring.
- Working with 60 famers and land managers.
- £35 million invested in restoration, supporting jobs in conservation and contracting, with funding secured from UK government and its agencies, the EU, and private sector investment.
- Reaching at least 2500 people with our webinars.
- 8 year-long graduate traineeships.
The North Pennines team is internationally recognised as a leader in the field of peatland restoration.
To get this point we’ve had to develop expertise in habitat restoration, monitoring, research, green finance and carbon markets and more.
The task of blocking thousands of kilometres of moorland drains and restoring thousands of hectares of bare and eroding peatland involves a complex process of relationship building and collaboration with landowners and managers, and complex survey and monitoring work that helps us make the right interventions in the right places and learn lessons for the future.
Courtesy of North Pennines National Landscape