Defra has launched a new fund that will pay 75-85% of the total project costs of peatland restoration projects in both lowland and upland England.
The Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme (NCPGS) is a competitive grant scheme that will run until 2025.
When peatland is in good condition it acts as a carbon sink, but peatland that has been mismanaged or damaged is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.
The aim of the scheme is to establish the process of restoring 35,000ha of degraded peat in England by March 2025.
It is calculated this will reduce cumulative emissions from peat by 9m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents by 2050 and provide wider environmental benefits such as improved ecosystems, better water quality and natural flood management.
The scheme is open to environmental groups, local authorities, charities, public bodies, individual landowners and organisations.
However, Natural England is looking for landscape-scale applications that work to restore the whole hydrological unit of a peatland, so each application is likely to involve a number of sites and landowners.
Two types of grant are available: a restoration grant, which part-funds the restoration process; and a discovery grant to support applicants to gather the information they will need to apply for a restoration grant in future rounds.
The first application round of the restoration grant is open from 30 April 2021 to 25 June 2021.
Landowners can normally apply for up to 75% of the total project costs, but in exceptional cases they can apply for up to 85% of the costs.
At least 15% of the project funding must come from a non-exchequer source.
The date for applications for the discovery grant has yet to be confirmed.
The discovery grant will cover 100% of the costs of the work needed.
The same applicant can apply for both grants in the same year, as long as each application is for a different site.
Applications must be made through Defra’s eSourcing portal.