Scientists from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) have led a major evidence review and developed new methods to update and expand the UK Peatland Code. Their report to Defra, produced jointly with the James Hutton Institute, on Aligning the Peatland Code with the UK Peatland Inventory, was published by the UK Government last week.

The Peatland Code, supported by Defra and operated by the IUCN Peatland Programme, is the primary mechanism for private funding and generation of carbon credits for UK peat restoration. It provides a voluntary certification standard for UK peatland projects wishing to market the greenhouse gas reduction benefits of peatland restoration, and provides assurances to voluntary carbon market buyers that the climate benefits being sold are real, quantifiable, additional and permanent.

The new method uses data from UKCEH’s flux tower network and elsewhere to update estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and removals for different peatland categories. It also extends the Peatland Code to cover lowland fen peats for the first time. The new method enables project developers to estimate emissions reductions that could be achieved by raising water levels, based on data analysis published in Nature in 2021.

The UKCEH scientists who worked on the report were: Professor Chris Evans, Annette Burden, Dr Hannah Clilverd, Dr Ross Morrison and Dr Jennifer Williamson.