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Natural Capital update: Grazing scheme boosts Cranley Moss peatland recovery

Peatland restoration is being encouraged by policymakers in the UK as an effective nature-based response to climate change and biodiversity loss.

The UK Peatland Strategy has identified a target for 2 million hectares of peatland expected to be either in good condition, under restoration, or sustainably managed by 2040.  In Scotland, more than £250 million has been committed to peatland restoration over the next 10 years through Peatland ACTION, an initiative of NatureScot, the nature agency. 

On behalf of a client in South Lanarkshire, Galbraith has successfully secured funding for several peatland restoration projects through a variety of funding mechanisms as part of the extension of our tailor-made professional services to add value to clients’ natural assets.

At Cranley Moss, we obtained funding via the Agri-Environmental Climate Scheme (AECS) to improve the condition of a lowland raised bog – a deep body of peat higher than the surrounding land – though grazing management. Cranley Moss is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for its raised bog habitat. 

Previously, the site had received funding from NatureScot (then the Nature Conservancy Council) in 1986 for ditch blocking and scrub removal, followed by a further agreement with NatureScot in 2008 under the South Scotland Bogs Scheme (SSBS). Additionally, the Butterfly Conservation Trust have carried out conservation work on the site since 2016. 

Following a successful application for AECS funding by Galbraith in 2017, a grazing regime has been implemented at Cranley Moss whereby the bog is grazed by 50-80 sheep between May and October each year to improve the condition of the vegetation.  All of the sheep flock are of Blackface breed, as research has shown that traditional breeds are most appropriate for grazing lowland bog habitats due to their propensity to browse rougher and woody vegetation.  

In addition to AECS funding at Cranley Moss, further funding for the client has been secured through the Peatland ACTION scheme at Blacklaw Moss, a neighbouring raised bog. To maximise the opportunities presented by peatland restoration at Blacklaw Moss, Galbraith are currently assisting with registering a project under the Peatland Code to generate carbon units.

Galbraith utilises proprietary data and GIS technologies to identify, measure and assess environments and natural capital opportunities, with peatland restoration being a prime example. With the potential to secure grant funding via Peatland ACTION and carbon finance via the Peatland Code, there is no better time to consider the benefits presented by this emerging sector of the rural economy.

Natural Capital: Galbraith’s expert advisers guide our clients in realising value in all land uses – by assessing and measuring natural assets, furthering opportunities in biodiversity net gain, and ensuring stakeholders are rewarded fully for their investment in and contribution to delivering ecosystem services and net-zero outcomes.