The Peatland Code

An innovative funding mechanism for peatland restoration - Highly Commended by Nature of Scotland Awards 2018

Image: Sphagnum pulchrum © Norrie Russell

The Peatland Code

What is the Peatland Code?Peatland Code

The Peatland Code is a voluntary certification standard for UK peatland projects wishing to market the climate benefits of peatland restoration. To download the Peatland Code and for more information please see scroll to the bottom of the page. 

Why is the Peatland Code needed?

A significant barrier to peatland restoration is financial with current public funding being both limited and competitive. To make peatland restoration economically attractive additional funding sources are required. One such source of funding is the sale of ecosystem services, such as climate benefit. To access these voluntary carbon markets buyers, need to be given assurance that the climate benefits being sold are real, quantifiable, additional and permanent. The Peatland Code is the mechanism through which such assurances can be given.

Peatlands are naturally waterlogged systems. This slows down decomposition and enables plant remains, containing carbon removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis, to be laid down as peat. As a result, peatlands in their natural state accumulate carbon, in the form of peat, at a rate of approximately 1mm a year. It is this long-term carbon storage that sets peatlands apart from other ecosystems.

The majority of the UK’s peatlands, however, are no longer sequestering and storing carbon. As a result of decades of unsuitable land management practices, it has instead become a significant net source of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) currently emitting approximately 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) each year. This is equivalent to around half of all the reduction efforts made annually in the UK. Preventing further damage and restoring healthy ecosystem function can therefore play an important role in climate regulation within the UK. Conserving and restoring peatlands also prevents loss of biodiversity and helps to enhance water quality.

How does the Peatland Code work?

The Peatland Code sets out a series of best practice requirements including a standard method for quantification of GHG benefit. Independent validation to this standard provides assurance and clarity for buyers with regards the quantity, quality of emissions reductions purchased. Recognising that carbon benefits arise for many years after the initial restoration activities are implemented, the Peatland Code also ensures the carbon benefit will be regularly measured and monitored over the lifetime of the project (minimum 30 years). Buyers can therefore be confident in purchasing peatland carbon units upfront, enabling the restoration project to take place. 

Funding obtained from the sale of climate benefit can sit alongside traditional public sources of funding, providing cost effective peatland restoration and ensuring management and maintenance of restoration projects over the long term.

The Peatland Code is currently designed to attract private purchases motivated by corporate social responsibility. The funding received from the sale of carbon benefit will depend on the extent of damage prior to restoration, the size of the project and the length of the management agreement.  The wider associated ecosystem service benefits of restoration (improvement in biodiversity, cleaner water, water flow management) may also become a unique selling point of the project.

The Peatland Code works for everyone involved:

  • Carbon buyers have reassurance that they have facilitated a responsible scheme, which will result in additional climate benefits
  • Projects have recognised procedures and standards to work to, and can use their validated/verified status as a means to market the carbon benefits to potential buyers
  • Society will benefit from enhanced climate mitigation and the restoration of the natural landscape.

Contact

Jillian Hoy,

IUCN UK Peatland Programme,

Peatland Code Coordinator

info@iucn.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dubh lochans and blanket bog at The Flows NNR near Forsinard, Caithness. June 2011 ©Lorne Gill/SNH/2020VISION
Scottish Budget 2020-21The Scottish Government announces £20 million for peatland restoration and a commitment to invest £…
Land use: policies for a Net Zero UK CCC report
Committee on Climate Change Report on Land Use: Policies for a Net Zero UKThe IUCN UK Peatland Programme welcomes strengthened policy and legislative recommendations in the…
Multiple effects of peatland drainage
New resource available: Explaining the impact of peatland drainage.Illustrating the multiple effects of peatland drainage including implications for carbon emissions…
Managed burning of heather © North Pennines AONB
A burning issue: comparison between Australian & UK fire management misses the mark. The news of the ongoing Australian fires is deeply concerning both in terms of the impact on people…
IUCN Resolution 43 reporting
IUCN Resolution 43 reportingNew report on progress under IUCN Resolution 43: Securing the future of global peatlands available…
Langlands Moss Restoration works underway
Langlands Moss Restoration works underwayLanglands Moss Local Nature Reserve, on the south edge of East Kilbride, Scotland is set to be…
Snowdonia Society volunteers creating heather bale dams on the Migneint, Snowdonia. © Dan Struthers Photography
Working together for the future of Welsh peatlandsA major programme of works is underway this season to restore peatlands across Wales. A large…
European Peatland Strategies workshop - Bonn, Germany
European Peatland Strategies workshop - Bonn, Germany Over 30 representatives from across 12 European countries attended a workshop to examine existing…
Bog cotton landscape © Stephen Price
Peatlands and the climate emergency2019 has seen all four devolved governments across the UK declare a climate emergency which will…
Richard Payne
A tribute to Richard Payne The IUCN UK Peatlands Programme team were all saddened to hear the shocking news about the death of…
Image of sphagnum in pool © Joe Holden
Sphagnum is a key ingredient of natural flood managementIn 2008 iCASP published research that showed how water running over Sphagnum on blanket peatlands…
Image of V-notch in ply-sheet dam © Emma Shuttleworth
Peat restoration and natural flood managementThe Upland Environments Research Unit at the University of Manchester has been working closely with…