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16 Mar 2020

Volunteers restore rare peatland to capture carbon and boost biodiversity

Volunteers turned out in force to restore an area of peatland at Chat Moss in Salford, Greater Manchester and help capture carbon to fight climate change.

Teams from Peel L&P, Lan­­cashire Wildlife Trust and Tyrer Ecological Consultants spent a day at the ‘Big Toe’ area of Chat Moss to plant 2,000 plugs of sphagnum moss and companion species to boost biodiversity at the site.

Healthy peatlands are wet and boggy and can store millions of tonnes of carbon dioxides that has been absorbed over thousands of years.

Chat Moss is a lowland raised bog that has seen many uses throughout history and volunteering activities like this help to restore these valuable areas to living, breathing mosslands.

Volunteers planted a mix of Sphagnum Moss, Common Heather, Cross Leaved Heath and Hare’s Tail Cottongrass all grown in the local community.

The plants will benefit a range of invertebrates including the Large Heath Butterfly (Manchester Argus) which is unique to peat bogs. Strict Haircap, a very rare moss in the region was also spotted on site indicating that this once-threatened species is making a welcome return.

Jo Holden, Peel L&P’s Sustainability Director said: “Our employees can use a day a year to volunteer for local projects and their work at Chat Moss has been invaluable in helping to restore our precious peatlands to enhance biodiversity and lock-in carbon to reduce emissions.

“This is part of our wider work with Salford City Council, Natural England and the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit to continue to improve the site’s condition.”

The volunteering day was coordinated by The Carbon Landscape, a project led by Lancashire Wildlife Trust, through the Great Manchester Wetlands partnership.

Becky Royce from The Carbon Landscape said, “It was really great to engage with members of Peel L&P staff and work to help restore this precious peatland.

“Many people don’t realise the hugely important role that peatlands can play in the fight against climate change, with healthy peatlands being able to absorb twice as much carbon as all of the world’s forests (Source: UN). So events like this are not just a great day out but also making a real difference to the environment.”

More information about Peel L&P’s sustainability work at www.peellandp.co.uk/responsibility