BakerHicks’ parent company, Morgan Sindall Group, the leading UK construction and regeneration group, have signed a two-year agreement to fund peatland conservation and restoration in the uplands of the north of England.
The Group are investing in a peatland restoration programme, which will be delivered by the North Pennines AONB Partnership and Yorkshire Peat Partnership. The funding enables the two conservation partners to undertake capital works to restore over 300 hectares of blanket bog in the North Pennines AONB and UNESCO Global Geopark, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and surrounding upland areas. It is the first large-scale, private sector green financing project under the umbrella of the Great North Bog coalition, an ambitious peatland conservation collaboration across the protected landscapes of the North of England.
The funding represents a significant contribution to the UK’s efforts to tackle climate change. It is estimated 80% of the UK’s peatlands are damaged and have become a significant source of greenhouse gases, emitting over 20 million tonnes of carbon each year. Restoration of the Great North Bog will in time avoid estimated annual carbon losses of 3.7 million tonnes, reducing UK peatland emissions by almost 20%.
As revegetation takes hold, the blanket bog will safeguard the carbon stored in the peatland, as well as taking in and storing additional carbon from the atmosphere. Restoring the Great North Bog will leave a living, national legacy of a functioning ecosystem, providing vital services for future generations, including:
Slowing the flow of water on peatlands, helping to mitigate flooding in towns and cities downstream
Reducing sediment load in rivers and the costs of water treatment to provide clean drinking water for millions
Storing millions of tonnes of carbon
Supporting a range of wildlife
Morgan Sindall Group Chief Executive, John Morgan, said:
We recognise that healthy peatlands provide many benefits to society and are vital in helping tackle the climate and biodiversity crises. The peatland restoration programmes of northern England have developed a vision to match the scale of this ecological challenge.
This is a really exciting partnership for us because their vision aligns with one of our strategic aims to not only become net zero ourselves, but also to help others do the same.
Commenting on the new partnership, Paul Leadbitter of AONB Partnership Peatland, added:
The benefits for people, nature and climate are enormous and will have a lasting impact. This is the first large-scale private sector green financing project within the scope of the Great North Bog, allowing us to continue restoration on a large scale and contributes to the UK’s environmental targets. This financial support will form part of the match funding for a significant grant of £4.8 million from the UK Government through the Nature for Climate Fund. This type of blended finance with the conservation sector and private sector working together is a new and very positive model for funding peatland restoration and we hope that this is the beginning of a long-term relationship with Morgan Sindall Group and others.
Graham Edgell, Director of Procurement and Sustainability at Morgan Sindall Group, added:
This dynamic partnership has hit the ground running. The rewetting of the first 11 sites is already underway, accelerating the joint ambition to deliver natural vibrant habitats full of life and betterment for everyone. This exciting project is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to enhancing communities and delivering a lasting legacy.