Climate benefits of peatland restoration to be certified by OF&G
Date Published: 19/09/2017
Projects working to restore one of the UK’s most important landscapes are to be given a boost thanks to a collaboration which will see OF&G verify the climatic benefits of peatland restoration.
OF&G has joined forces with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on the UK Peatland Programme which is designed to enable the protection and improvement of UK peatland and its ecology.
Working with certification partners Acoura, OF&G will help develop and implement the Peatland Code – a voluntary standard which helps UK peatland restoration projects attract private finance.
The Code works to protect the country’s 2.7m ha of peatlands, which store over three billion tonnes of carbon – the same amount stored in the forests of the UK, France and Germany combined – in the form of peat soil.
When the surface of peatland is damaged, either through draining, livestock grazing or peat mining, it can release carbon in the form of greenhouse gases until steps are taken to restore the land.
While 80% of the UK’s peatland is currently damaged, peatland restoration can save between two and 19 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year, which is where the Code will help.
Agri-environment schemes and grant-aided projects go some way to funding restoration, but many projects require private investment via the UK’s voluntary carbon market.
Under the new collaboration, OF&G will provide independent certification to Peatland Code projects, giving guarantees to these private investors that they are providing climate change benefits.
Jillian Hoy, coordinator of the Peatland Code, said: “Appointing a verification body is an important step in the development of the Peatland Code.
“The provision of independent assurance allows peatland projects to confidently demonstrate their emissions reduction potential and secure carbon finance to make restoration possible.”
Roger Kerr, OF&G chief executive, added: “Peatland is an integral part of the UK landscape, not just in terms of the way our countryside looks, but most importantly in the vital job it does in storing carbon.
“We are pleased to be working with the IUCN, alongside our certification partners Acoura, to provide verification of the Peatland Code and to identify the efforts being made in restoring this critical landscape.”
If you are interested in Peatland Code verification for your own project OF&G will carry information on the certification process for this very soon.
For more information on the Peatland Code visit the IUCN website.