New peat grants launched to help tackle the climate and nature emergencies

Equipment on peatland site restring to re-wet the landscape

A first-of its kind competitive grant in Wales offering Delivery Grants between £50,000 and £250,000 to support peatland restoration was launched at the end of March.

This new grant follows two rounds of Development Grants offered in 2022/23 to plan for ‘shovel-ready’ peatland restoration.

Launched on 31 March 2023, the new competitive Delivery Grants, from a total funding pot of £500,000, are suitable for any applicants with a plan ready to action peatland restoration. From habitat recovery to reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the grant investment will likely start to yield results upon project completion in January 2025 and beyond.

The aim of peatland restoration is to address the climate and nature emergencies, as the Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Clare Pillman, explains:

The peat expertise of the Programme team, supported by a dynamic team of professionals and partners both in and outside NRW, has shown significant impact in the restoration work to date. Yet with 4% of peatland surface land cover in Wales, 90% considered to be in a deteriorating condition and emitting greenhouse gases, we do not rest on our laurels. I’m pleased to see that landowners and farmers can now consider a new funded pathway to peatland restoration, through this new Delivery Grant.

In less than three years, the National Peatland Action Programme, funded by Welsh Government and managed by NRW, has:

  • surpassed its peatland restoration targets (2020-2022),
  • launched the Peat Map of Wales (2022),
  • launched the first Development Grants (2022)
  • and now launched the Delivery Grants.

The new competitive Delivery Grant is part of the programme’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 strategic delivery funding to key delivery partners such as the national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and conservation agencies across Wales.

The Delivery Grant can be applied for through the National Peatland Action Programme webpage. Free webinars in Welsh and English will also be held 24/4/2023 to guide potential applicants through the process. The closing date for the Delivery Grant application window is 1/7/2023.

The Delivery Grant will see activity and equipment on site, putting into practice some of over 100 possible intervention techniques, to restore the peatland to a healthy bog or fen habitat. Together, the Development and now the Delivery grants accelerate restoration from planning to delivery action, speeding up the nature and climate gain.

Peatland is the most valuable land resource in Wales for carbon storage, given that it stores about 30% of our soil-based carbon. Yet in a damaged condition, arising from many causes such as drainage and erosion, the exposed peatland releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere so is an active contributor to climate change. Healthy re-wetted peatlands not only reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, store carbon and boost biodiversity, including allowing the peat-forming sphagnum mosses to thrive, but they also contribute to reducing flood risk and the incidence of  wildfires.

The benefits of peatland restoration was given a strong endorsement by Climate Minister, Julie James MS, with her announcement in October 2022 of the Welsh Governments’ intention to triple the peatland restoration targets.

Minister for Climate Change Julie James said:

I’m encouraging all landowners and farmers to apply for this grant so they can take part in our emergency response to the climate and nature crises. When peatlands are in good health they are our greatest terrestrial carbon sink, they host an abundance of flora and wildlife, and they filtrate the water we drink. When left in disrepair they can accelerate climate change, become biodiversity deserts and lose their ability to protect us from floods.
That’s why we tripled our peatlands restoration targets last year after exceeding our own benchmarks. Now we need you – landowners and farmers alike – to join a Team Wales effort to meet these ambitions and pass onto our future generations a Wales we are proud of.

NPAP is tasked by Welsh Government to lead with a cohesive approach to Wales Peatland Action through funding for restoration, 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.