Introduction to the Peatland Code

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

Image: Sphagnum pulchrum © Norrie Russell

Introduction to 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 and provides assurances to voluntary carbon market buyers that the climate benefits being sold are real, quantifiable, additional and permanent. 

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.Peatland Code v1.2 

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.

Leaflets on the Peatland Code

  • Creating Peatland Restoration Projects highlights the benefits landowners can receive from registering projects under the Peatland Code, eligibility criteria and the process for becoming a Peatland Code certified project.
  • Unlocking Private Finance provides an overview of the complications facing damaged peatlands and how landowners can receive private financial investment through carbon finance.
  • Buying Carbon Units explains what carbon units are, how you buy them and the benefits for buyers.

 


Contact

Dr Renée Kerkvliet-Hermans

IUCN UK Peatland Programme, Peatland Code Coordinator

Email: renee.kerkvliet-hermans@iucn.org.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 7341733242

 

Ed Salter

IUCN UK Peatland Programme, Peatland Code Officer

Email: ed.salter@iucn.org.uk 

Tel: +44 (0) 7423642489

or alternatively email: info@iucn.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cors Caron Copywrite Drew Buckley Photography
Conference 2022 - Registration openRegistration for this year's IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference taking place live in Aberystwyth…
Mar Estate © Mark Nicolson
100 Project Milestone for the Peatland CodeThe Peatland Code now has 100 projects registered under the UK La
Peatland Code version 1.2
New version of the Peatland Code launchedAn update to the Peatland Code, including a separate guidance document, is now available.
IUCN UK Peatland Programme Newsletter: Winter Edition 2022
IUCN UK Peatland Programme Newsletter: Winter Edition 2022Read the latest IUCN UK Peatland Programme newsletter.
Peat-free image
Peat-free Horticulture – A reality and an opportunityWe have reached a key moment for bringing about a transition in the way we garden and supply…
PC Projects Feb 22
An update on the Peatland CodeThe Peatland Code continues to grow rapidly with 79 projects now registered and 10,300 ha of…
The new CNPA Peatland ACTION team
Unlocking contractor capacity to lock up carbon in the CairngormsThe Cairngorms National Park Authority’s (CNPA) Peatland ACTION Officers have facilitated over 2,…
Moors for the Future Partnership: Cleaner water video
Moors for the Future Partnership presents: Blanket bogs are worth protecting video seriesMoors for the Future Partnership has developed five videos to help people understand the multiple…
Restoration works at East Gill in Nidderdale
Yorkshire Peat Partnership celebrates another successful yearAs Yorkshire Peat Partnership (YPP) heads into the new restoration season, they take a moment to…
The Peatlands of Britain and Ireland: World Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day 2022: 'The Peatlands of Britain and Ireland' launched as e-bookTo celebrate World Wetlands Day 2022, 'The Peatlands of Britain and Ireland' by the IUCN UK…
South West Peatland Partnership vacancies
South West Peatland Partnership job vacanciesThe South West Peatland Partnership (Exeter, Devon) have 8 job vacancies available to support their…