Global importance of peatland
Peatland (or 'blanket bog' as the habitat is known in the uplands) is of international importance for its biodiversity and carbon storage. Whilst peatlands only cover 3% of the world’s land area, and thus are rarer in extent that tropical rainforests, they contain nearly 30% of all carbon stored on land. The peatlands of England contain more carbon that the forests of Europe.
A healthy, functioning blanket bog is extremely important in providing various ecosystem or natural services for society, which can include:
- reductions in downstream flood risk and siltation
- reduction in wildfire risk on moorlands
- improvements in water quality
- reducing carbon loss and promoting sequestration of atmospheric carbon
- biodiversity improvements
- improvements in landscape quality and natural beauty
Latest Update: December 2016
Following on from the LIFE bid update below, we had the dissapointing news that the re-submitted bid of late 2015 was refused funding during the summer of 2016. However, the decision was made to try one last time, and currently we await the final decision, which is due in March 2017.
However, in the meantime the LPP partners have been busy on the ground, with restoration projects in the West Pennine Moors and the Forest of Bowland being completed within the 2015-6 winter season. In the West Pennine Moors work on UU owned land has completed the Spitlers Edge flag path, as well as completing some grip blocking on Wheelton Moor. In the Forest of Bowland, revegetation work was undertaken within the Bowland Fell SSSI at Brown Syke, an area of reprofiled bare peat within the Abbeystead Estate. The work was topped off by a visit from the junior pupils from Abbeystead school, who spent an afternoon plug planting and sphagnum seeding within the project area, as well as learning about how the restoration work will have a direct impact on the stream which passes many of their homes.
Update: December 2015
Despite scoring well and passing all the criteria, the LIFE+ bid did not secure its funding during the summer of 2015. However, the assessment team sent the bid team some very detailed feedback about how to improve the chances of the bid receiving funding in the next round, and so a revised bid was submitted in October. We will know its outcome next summer.
In the meantime, restoration work has been continuing across Lancashire. HLS has funded work on Hawthornthwaite and Mallowdale in Bowland, and on Anglezarke in the West Pennine Moors, as shown in this photo. The huge fall on the end of this grip led the contractors to develop this novel way of protecting the edge of the peat from erosion.
Update: March 2015
The Lancashire Peat Partnership members met on the 25 March 2015, in order to review the work undertaken during the previous season. This will be reflected in updated versions of the Priority Peat matrices being posted on this page once they are completed. The Terms of Reference for the group going forward and the funding strategy will be completed once the outcome of the LIFE+ bid is known. Plans are in place for a citizen science photography project to begin on Bleasdale and the group were pleased to welcome the catchment management partnerships.
Update: January 2015
Lancashire sites for part of Pennine Peat LIFE bid
Nine key sites across Bowland and Rossendale have been selected to be included in an £8mill project application to the EU LIFE programme, which funds biodiversity projects across Europe.
The overall aim of the Pennine Peat LIFE project is to demonstrate techniques to reactivate and maintain 2868ha of peat-forming blanket mire in badly eroded systems at a landscape scale across several climatic, geographical and pollution gradients in the Pennines of northern England to halt further loss of the carbon store, to convert degraded mires from carbon sources to carbon sinks and to increase the resilience of Pennine blanket mires to long-term climate change.
This will be achieved by:
- Demonstrating and evaluating techniques using Sphagnum mosses to re-activate peat-forming blanket mire in severely eroded systems at a landscape scale in the Pennines of northern England.
- Demonstrating and evaluating techniques for the sustainable repeatable harvest of Sphagnum mosses to provide a consistent supply for use in restoration project that maintain and enhance donor sites.
- Developing, verifying and demonstrating the viability of the UK Peatland Code as an emerging income stream to encourage landowners to restore and maintain peatlands in good condition.
- Promoting the importance of upland blanket bogs for carbon management to policy makers, landowners, farmers, gamekeepers and other key stakeholders.
The project is a collaboration between the Yorkshire Peat Partnership, the North Pennines AONB, Durham County Council, the Forest of Bowland AONB, Lancashire County Council, the Environment Agency, United Utilities, Yorkshire Water & Northumberland Water. The bid was submitted in October 2014, and it is likely that a decision will be made in March 2015.
About Lancashire Peat Partnership
The Lancashire Peat Partnership (LPP) was set up in 2009 to co-ordinate peatland restoration projects within the uplands of the Lancashire sub-region and border areas. It is intended that through this co-ordination work, partners would be able to avoid duplication of effort and maximise resources. The current priorities are:
- To promote peat restoration in relation to its benefits for carbon management, biodiversity, flood risk management, erosion control, water quality, fire risk management, landscape quality, natural beauty and recreation.
- To prioritise and facilitate upland peat restoration in Lancashire.
- To seek and secure funding for peatland restoration projects across upland Lancashire.
- To share relevant knowledge, information and research findings.
- To seek and secure funding for peatland monitoring projects across upland Lancashire.
The Priority Peat work in Bowland and the West Pennine Moors catalogues the restoration work already completed and the areas still to be restored. Both reports can be downloaded from this page (see below).
Updates from the Partnership will also be posted here. The partner organisations include the Forest of Bowland AONB, Environment Agency, Lancashire County Council, Natural England, Pennine Prospects, United Utilities, the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Ribble Rivers Trust, the Woodland Trust.
The Partnership is currently supported by 0.1fte project officer Sarah Robinson, firstname.lastname@example.org 01200 448000. This role is jointly funded by the Forest of Bowland AONB and Environment Agency. The role of the Project Officer is directed by the Partnership and includes support for meetings, dissemination of information, and the production and updating of the following plans:
- Communications plan
- Funding strategy - to be completed following the outcome of the LIFE+ bid in April 2015
- Monitoring plan for Bleasdale Fells
- Forest of Bowland Priority Peat report
- Update to the Bowland Priority Peat matrix 2015
- West Pennine Moors & Rossendale 'gap' Priority Peat report
- Update to the West Pennine Moors Priority Peat matrix 2015 and Update to the Rossendale 'gap' Priority Peat matrix 2015
EVIDENCE DOWNLOADS AND LINKS
Blanket Bog Restoration Strategy Project (RP02998) http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5476256970702848 - this sets out Natural England’s approach to restoration endorsed by the Defra Upland Stakeholder Forum based on a trajectory of change supported by a shared commitment to work collaboratively amongst landowners, land managers and stakeholders.
Restoration of degraded blanket bog (NEER003) http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5724822 - This review concentrated on the evidence relating to biodiversity and ecosystem services in the uplands and the impact of land management activities upon them.
The historic peat record: Implications for the restoration of blanket bog (NEER011) http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5155418650181632 - This report into the palaeoecological literature was commissioned to determine whether the management of blanket peat deposits, particularly blanket bogs, might be informed by the historical record contained within peat deposits. The overarching aims are to determine whether palaeoecological information might be used to help determine where restoration might be most effective, where it might be feasible or not to restore peat given current or likely future climatic conditions and which management actions might be most effective.
Making Space for Water: The Making Space for Water Project is investigating a new approach to flood management. Moors for the Future in partnership with the Environment Agency aim to demonstrate how our natural resources can help to protect against flooding. Link to the project page on the Moors for the Future website here
Slow the Flow partnership project at Pickering: Information about the Pickering Project can be found on the Forestry Research website here
Natural Flood Management Handbook (SEPA, 2015): download a copy here