By mid-2022 National Peatland Action Programme (NPAP) could reflect on a successful initial two years of above target delivery, given the restoration action on over 1650 hectares by March 2022. The restoration aims for Wales is gathering further momentum with the announcement, in October 2022, by Climate Change Minister Julie James MS, of the Welsh Government’s aim to triple the restoration targets.
In the interim NPAP, funded by Welsh Government and managed by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), delivers with a strategic approach, in collaboration with many partners in Wales such as the national parks and AONB, as well as the conservation agencies and individual landowners.
Responding to feedback, a new pathway to peatland restoration was also introduced in 2022, through the£10K-£30K competitive Development Grants which allowed for the planning of shovel-ready projects for delivery. The follow-up grant opportunity, the competitive Delivery Grant of £50K-£250K, will be launched on 31/3/23, with the restoration action completed by January 2025. Application details can be found on NPAP’s web page.
The all-Wales approach, collectively called Wales Peatland Action, is also represented in the cohesive methodology that led to the launch of the Wales Peatland Data Portal in 2022. An open access tool, to be updated with ongoing restoration status, besides supporting the professionals, it has also appealed to the public at large who seek information about the location, peat depth, and biodiversity of their local bog or fen.
Community engagement, to convey peatland’s valuable carbon capture quality, is heading in an new direction in 2023. An artist has sets out to combine science and creativity to produce a representative sustainable statue of peatland’s qualities on peatland. Initial bio-composite experiments by Manon Awst have been promising, as she explains in this podcast.
Groups and individuals with an interest in peatland restoration are as diverse in Wales as elsewhere. A suite of Wales Peatland Action groups are up and running to address a range of issues, including the strategic and practitioner aspects of peatland restoration. In February 2023, the Strategic Partnership Group enjoyed a site visit, hosted by the RSPB, to see NPAP-funded restoration work near Lake Vyrnwy, whilst the Practitioners Networking Group are planning a two-day information exchange on site at Pen y Cymoedd and Brecon Beacons / National Trust sites in April.
Neither is the information sharing limited to Wales, as was in evidence in October 2022 at the excellent IUCN Peatland conference in Aberystwyth. Hosted in conjunction with NRW and the Welsh LIFE Raised Bog project, the IUCN gathered a community of specialists who energised our collective search for solutions as we forge ahead to tackle both the nature and climate emergencies. If you missed it, check out the presentations for Day 1 and 3, and the poster presentations.
For enquiries about peatland restoration in Wales, contact the NPAP team firstname.lastname@example.org
Proud moment as the NPAP is presented with the Carbon Footprint Award by NRW’s Chief Executive, Clare Pillman