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Thursday, 7 February 2013

For peat's sake! Yorkshire Water boosts vital conservation work

Nidderdale is benefiting from a project to restore rare natural peatlands,

Yorkshire Water is spending £1.2 million on a scheme to improve drinking water by restoring the peatlands above Scar House and Angram reservoirs near Pateley Bridge.

The re-wetting process ensures sediment isn’t washed into nearby drinking water reservoirs and helps keep the moors wetter for longer, thereby, reducing colour loss and retaining peat. Climate change experts say UK peatlands will face increasingly warm and dry conditions posing major challenges for them to thrive.

The project is part of a £9 million countywide project to restore such areas to their former glory.The company is working alongside the Yorkshire Peat Partnership.

But, according to Yorkshire Water's Andrew Walker, while the project brings conservation benefits, it's also more cost effective to restore peatlands – with all the extra habitat and carbon benefits – rather than pay more money to treat the water. Studies show that every £1 spent restoring these areas saves £3 of public money.

The restoration of more than a thousand hectares above Angram Reservoir will include encouraging extra vegetation to grow by cutting heather from nearby moors, mixing it with lime and fertiliser to create mini ecosystems in which peat-forming vegetation will thrive.

Due to its remote location, helicopters will be used to transport heather cut from nearby moors on to the top of the area where it will be spread by hand.

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