This September the first Peatland Code registered restoration project achieved validation. The peatland restoration project, at Dryhope in Scotland, was piloted through the process by Forest Carbon.
George Hepburne Scott at Forest Carbon, who developed the project alongside the Tweed Forum and Scottish Natural Heritage, said “this project highlighted the importance of working collaboratively with a range of organisations to unlock private and public funding to deliver much needed peatland restoration activities here in the UK. We are very hopeful that this will be first of many restoration projects our partners will help fund under the IUCN Peatland Code”.
To achieve validation the emissions benefit of restoration activities at Dryhope were quantified and checked against the requirements of the Peatland Code by an independent certification body. Committing to the validation process signalled both the quality of the project and commitment of the land owner, Philiphaugh Trust, to deliver the expected benefits over time, ultimately resulting in the purchase of the emissions benefit by long-time Forest Carbon partner NEX Group in recognition of their 2017/18 carbon footprint. NEX Group have led the way in land-based Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding mechanisms over the past few years as one of the first to invest in the Woodland Carbon Code and now the Peatland Code. Although pioneering in the area NEX Group makes only one small reference to their activities – in their Annual Reports – as they see carbon mitigation being a minimum requirement for doing business.
By attracting carbon finance, the restoration project at Dryhope has ensured that it will remain well managed and maintained for the next 45 years. This is crucial to protecting the initial investment of blocking drainage ditches, re-profiling peat hags and putting the peatland landscape firmly on the path to good ecological condition. It is this long-term view that will result in the delivery of real ecosystem service provision within the wider catchment.