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The Peatland Code

The Peatland Code is the certification standard for peatland restoration in the UK.  Registering a project under the code provides assurance that greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation claims are validated and verified by an independent body. The code safeguards the integrity of its project’s carbon credits and, through the generation and sale of these units, provides land managers undertaking peatland restoration with a source of revenue.

The Peatland Code was set-up to help facilitate restoration of the UK’s extensive peatlands, 80% (1) of which are estimated to be in a degraded state. Degraded peatlands are a significant source of GHG emissions, and in the UK alone are contributing 23 million tonnes of CO2e emissions each year (2), almost 3.5% of the country’s total carbon footprint (3). 

degraded peatland in the Cairngorms National Park, near Glenshee. The bare peat is vulnerable to both oxidation and erosion.

Photograph of a degraded peatland in the Cairngorms National Park, near Glenshee. The bare peat is vulnerable to both oxidation and erosion.

Launched in 2015, the Peatland Code is the product of a huge collaborative effort between multiple parties - including NatureScot, IUCN, DEFRA, Scottish Forestry, Highland and Island Enterprise, the NFU - and us at Forest Carbon. The Peatland code sets out a series of best practice requirements including a standardised method of carbon quantification.  

Did you know…

Tackling peatland GHG emissions has multiple co-benefits including improved water quality, habitat creation for biodiversity, and flood mitigation. 

Since the code’s inception, Forest Carbon have developed several peatland restoration projects. These include a scheme at Dryhope, which in September 2018 was the first project to be validated under the Peatland Code. Since then we have developed further projects in Scotland and Wales, two of which have carbon available for purchase:

- Rotten Bottom, Scottish Borders

- Gameshope Loch, Scottish Borders

Forest Carbon team out on Peatland restoration site at Gameshope Loch,Photograph of the Forest Carbon team out on site at Gameshope Loch, meeting the contractors who delivered the restoration

The Peatland Code has as registry database which provides access to all the validated UK peatland projects.

If you are thinking about restoring peatland, would like to support peatland projects, or simply learn more then get in touch.  


(1) IUCN, UK Peatlands: Peatland Programme. Accessed: 30/03/2021. LINK.

(2) Smyth, Mary-Ann & Artz, Rebekka & Taylor, Emily & Evans, Chris & Moxley, Janet & Archer, Nicole & Burden, Annette & Williamson, Jennifer & Donnelly, David & Thomson, Amanda & Buys, Gwen & Malcolm, Heath & Wilson, David & Renou-Wilson, Florence. (2017). Implementation of an Emissions Inventory for UK Peatlands. LINK.

(3) IUCN (2021), Peatland addition to the UK GHG inventory adds 3.5% to national emissions. LINK.

Where our
projects are

Forest Carbon leads the way in developing woodland creation and peatland restoration projects for carbon capture and ecosystem services in the UK. We have planted over 10.3 million new trees in 220+ new woodlands since 2006 with our partners removing over 2.1 million tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere, as well as providing a host of other benefits to society, including habitat creation, biodiversity support, flood mitigation, river ecosystem improvement and public access.

Our new woodland schemes spread across Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. They are certified by the Woodland Carbon Code – which is supported by the UK government and internationally recognised by ICROA. Planting the ‘right tree in the right place’ is required though adherence to the Forestry Commission standards.

Our peatland schemes can be found in Scotland and Wales. They are certified by the Peatland Code which is supported by the IUCN. These certification codes assure the additionality and permanence of each tonne of carbon stored.

Outside of the UK our partners have offset a further 1 million tonnes CO2 and protected or planted in excess of 3 million trees. 

View projects map