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Peterborough's Flag Fen to benefit from 'discovery grant'

Peatland sites across The Fens could get a cash boost as a project looks to restore patches in the East of England.
THS-Flag-Fen-Bronze-age-site-Peterborough-1966_original
(photo: Terry Harris / LocalPix)

Flag Fen in Peterborough is among the sites that will be restored and redeveloped thanks to a project from the Fens East Peat Partnership (FEPP) which has been awarded a "discovery grant".

The £815,877 grant has been awarded through the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme to explore the feasibility of restoring peatlands in the Fens.

The grant will help the partnership examine the condition of 20 peat sites - with others in Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire.

The aim would be to restore and develop the sites.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust are leading the project on behalf of The National Trust, Natural England, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, RSPB and the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.

These organisations have been working together across the Fens for many years through the Fens for the Future partnership.

Tammy Marie Smalley, head of conservation at Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, said: "These are very exciting times, as peatlands are now in the spotlight as a habitat that, if managed correctly, can help us address the two environmental crises, climate change and biodiversity loss.

"The Fens are incredibly important for an array of threatened species, but also as the bread basket of our nation’s food production. We want to work with our partners and neighbours to ensure that water resource management delivers for peatland restoration and much more besides.”

Peatlands are Earth’s largest terrestrial carbon store, holding more than twice the amount of carbon in all the world’s forests.

They cover 10.9 per cent of England’s land area. Around, 87 per cent of peatlands are degraded. In this state, they do not capture and store carbon but emit an estimated 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent every year.

The Government’s Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme aims to capture this carbon by setting 35,000 ha of degraded peatland on a path to restoration by 2025.

The grants will help groups develop new projects seeking to restore peatland systems to a natural and healthy state at a landscape scale.