As Defra prepares to announce England’s largest ever peatland restoration scheme, new research involving the University of Plymouth suggests farmers and land managers need greater control in order for it to succeed.
The new Nature for Climate fund is expected to be a key part of Defra’s delivery of the England Peatland strategy that is due to be launched later this year.
In advance of that, a study commissioned by Natural England shows that while money is important, land managers are also attracted to schemes for a variety of other personal and social reasons.
This includes if schemes enable them to collaborate with others, contribute to their local community or engage in activities that increase their sense of personal connection to the landscapes they manage.
The research also suggested that the private sector could play a more significant role in paying for peatland restoration if Defra’s new scheme is designed to leverage investment from companies and investors interested in mitigating climate change.
The work was led by Newcastle University as part of Natural England’s Peat Pilots programme, researching and testing policy options for the England Peatland Strategy on Dartmoor, the East Anglian fens, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Cumbria and Northumberland, and the North York Moors.
In Plymouth, the work was led by Dr John Martin, Head of research support and development, supported by PhD student Adam Guy.
They have extensive expertise in using apps for surveys and have previously developed Landscape Connect with Natural England, further refining it as part of the European Union’s RURITAGE project.
They were approached by the project leaders to collaborate on this research, and facilitated a series of workshops and the use of the app to collect further information.