Caption: Bolton Fell National Nature Reserve, ex-horticultural peat mining site, before restoration - Credit Natural England
Caption: Bolton Fell National Nature Reserve, following restoration
What do we know about peat bogs?
Well, actually quite a lot!
As well as farming and manufacturing compost we are also one of the UK’s leading peatland restoration contractors. Peatlands make-up around 12% of the UK and when in good condition store significant amounts of carbon, as well as providing a quarter of the UK’s drinking water and being rich in rare and endangered plants and animals. There is estimated to be over 3 billion tonnes of carbon stored in UK peatlands, equivalent to all carbon stored in the forests of the UK, Germany and France combined.
These habitats are rightly recognised as having national and international significance, as well as providing a wide range of services that benefit people. However, only 22% of UK’s peatland are currently considered to be in near natural condition. The condition of peatlands is strongly related to land use, the International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates 80% of the UKs peatlands are in a damaged and deteriorating condition having been modified as a result of present and past land management activities, including extraction for horticulture and draining for agricultural improvement.
The UK Government are committed to halting the use of peat in horticulture in England by 2030 and introduced a voluntary target for amateur gardeners to phase out the use of peat by 2020, and a final voluntary phase-out target of 2030 for professional growers of fruit, vegetables and plants. Working for clients such as Natural England, the Cairngorms National Park, South-West Water and Cumbria Wildlife Trust, we continue our restoration work and build innovative machinery and techniques that are used on both upland peat bogs and lowland mire for re-wetting and re-establishing sphagnum and bog flora.
Facts about Peat
- Peat is a unique natural habitat that supports a wide range of nationally and internationally important flora and fauna.
- The removal of peat leads to the release of carbon, speeding up global warming and climate change; degraded UK peatland is responsible for around 5% the UK's greenhouse gas emissions. In upland blanket bogs, the predominant UK peatland type, the peat layer is typically 1–5 m thick and every square metre contains 40–200 kg of carbon.
- Peat plays an important role in the hydrological cycle helping to maintain water quantity and quality, and helps in the role of flood prevention; water from peatlands represents 27% of the UK ecosystem service accounts.
- Peat contains vital and unique historical evidence of an area and its inhabitants.
This is a film made by Natural England for a 5 year restoration project that has taken place at 3 sites in Cumbria. We were able to work on all 3 sites, pioneering innovative restoration techniques and helping to sequester carbon and other greenhouse gasses back into the bogs
Take a look at the peathag repair work we did with Cumbria Wildlife Trust at Borrowdale