Compeatitive bidding!

Peat dams © Les Hughes

Yorkshire know-how will soon be helping to restore blanket bog around England. The Our Common Cause (OCC) project has contracted Yorkshire Peat Partnership to provide restoration expertise on upland commons from Cumbria all the way down to Devon.

Rosie Snowden, our lead on the contract bid, said: “This is exciting work - it’s a great opportunity for the peatland community, including landowners and farmers, to learn from one another and share experience of peatland restoration. I’m really looking forward to working with partners around England and seeing how they manage their blanket bog.

“Our peatlands are important not just for wildlife, but because they store carbon, clean our air and drinking water, and help to manage flooding. Every county in England contains some peatland, and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved for Yorkshire’s.”

Yorkshire Peat Partnership has been restoring peatlands in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors for almost ten years now. We have brought over 23,000 ha of blanket bog into conservation management; blocked over 1,800 km of drainage ditches and reduced erosion from a further 1,680 km; tackled over 1,500 km of gullies and hags; re-established vegetation on over 108 ha of bare peat. We have been constantly innovating techniques, from aerial surveys to our research into sphagnum reintroduction

This depth and breadth of experience helped us to win the competitive bidding process to create restoration plans on sites in Dartmoor, Yorkshire and the Lake District. Now that we have won the contract, the hard work starts.

First, we will be looking at the occurrence of liver fluke and saut and the impact peatland restoration has both on these and on bog asphodel. We will examine the history of these sheep diseases within the project areas, and what could be done to reduce future outbreaks. It is really important that our work does not compromise farmers’ livelihoods. After that, we will assess each site using ground surveys and aerial imagery and consult with local OCC partners before drafting restoration plans; our sphagnum research will help us to minimise restoration costs. We will identify whether further restoration trials will be needed as well as looking at alternative funding and income generation options for farmers. Commoners at each of the sites will be involved in every stage.

Our Common Cause is led by the Foundation for Common Land and funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.