£6 million invested in restoring nature’s natural carbon store in Northern England

A new £6 million project has been launched to help fix large swathes of Pennine peatland over the next four years, some of which is on Yorkshire Water land.

The project, Pennine PeatLIFE, will take place in areas of the North Pennines, Yorkshire Dales and Forest of Bowland to fix currently damaged areas of blanket bog or ‘peat bog’, so that they once more provide homes for wildlife, store carbon to help us combat climate change and help filter clean water for us to drink.

By protecting and planting more peatland mosses, the project will reduce soil erosion and mean that drinking water collected by Yorkshire Water’s reservoirs has less sediment in it before it is treated.

Over the next four years Yorkshire Water will conserve and enhance 43 square miles of Yorkshire’s peat moorland – much of which is owned by the water company and designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSi).

The Pennine PeatLIFE project, led by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership in collaboration with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership, aims to restore a huge 1,300 hectares of bog – space enough for over 1,000 cricket matches to be held all at once.

Rob Stoneman, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said:

“The unique wet, cool climate of the UK might not suit all, but it provides the perfect conditions for blanket bog formation, with over 13% of the world’s resource found here. We therefore have a vital role to play in the protection of this globally important habitat and Pennine PeatLIFE is a major step forward in achieving this.

“Having long studied peatlands and their importance for climate, water, wildlife and historical studies, I am delighted that Yorkshire Wildlife Trust will be part of this ambitious project to return this habitat, which is close to my heart, back to a bill of health working closely with a team of excellent partners.”

Financed by the European Union’s LIFE Programme, Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, Northumbrian Water and United Utilities, Pennine PeatLIFE brings together a strong coalition of experienced partners to deliver a large-scale programme of peatland restoration and research with wide ranging benefits.

Andrew Walker, Catchment Manager from Yorkshire Water said:

“45% of the water we treat comes from upland catchments, so they’re a really important source of water for us. They’re also dominated by internationally important peatland habitats, so initiatives like this are an excellent way for us to work in partnership with other water companies and key stakeholders to restore and enhance these landscapes. Healthy peatlands not only deliver cleaner water, but can help reduce the impact of downstream flooding, as well as mitigate against a changing climate.”