As an added environmental benefit of our renewable energy parks, Ridge also develops peatland restoration projects across the UK.
Peatlands constitute a huge store of carbon, holding over a quarter of the world’s soil carbon despite only covering 3% of the land mass. However, in a damaged condition, peatlands release this stored carbon as carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere. Degraded peatlands therefore actively contribute to climate change and global warming.
Traditionally, peatlands have been drained by humans for a variety of reasons, the impact of which is now recognised to be devastating. Here in the UK, 80% of our peatlands are in a degraded condition and are in need of restorative efforts.
In a healthy condition, peatlands are carbon removal powerhouses. Restoration takes damaged peatland from a net source of greenhouse gases to a net sink. The partially-decomposed vegetation that makes up a peatland bog has the ability to take in carbon dioxide and store it for millennia. This is called carbon sequestration.
The restoration process focuses first and foremost on the rewetting of the landscape, to raise the water table across a bog site. This involves techniques such as damming of drainage systems, reprofiling steep areas causing water runoff, and revegetating areas where bare peatland is exposed.
Peatland restoration offers immense opportunities for climate repair, and our projects deliver a variety of other benefits that support the UK’s ecosystems, cultural heritage and communities. These co-benefits include flood risk mitigation, biodiversity gains, increase in downstream water quality, and drought resilience.