THOUSANDS of hectares of vital peatland will be restored under ambitious proposals launched to help tackle climate change and protect biodiversity.

Five new landmark projects to restore England’s peatlands to a natural and healthy state will benefit from millions of pounds through the Government’s Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme.

The Government intends to invest over £50 million in peat restoration, building on its pledge to restore approximately 35,000 hectares of peatland in England by the end of this Parliament.

In a project led by Forestry England, in partnership with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Northumberland National Park Authority, Natural England, Newcastle University and the Ministry of Defence, Northumberland will see 827 hectares of peatland on nine closely connected sites in the Border Mires restored.

As England’s largest carbon store on land, peatlands play a vital role in trapping carbon and. However, only 13 per cent of England’s peatlands are in a near-natural state.

“Our peatlands are remarkable habitats which provide homes for many precious species and hold enormous amounts of carbon”, said Environment Minister Rebecca Pow. “By restoring 35,000 ha of damaged and degraded peatlands in England, nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide would be prevented from being released by 2050 which would make a significant contribution to combatting the devastating impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss.

“The projects being awarded funding will bring about much-needed peatland restoration across the country.”

The second round of Peatland Restoration Grant applications are due to be launched in early 2022.