Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Peak Performance for Peat Repair Job Workers; THEY CLIMB REGION'S TALLEST HILL EVERY DAY OF PROJECT

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Peak Performance for Peat Repair Job Workers; THEY CLIMB REGION'S TALLEST HILL EVERY DAY OF PROJECT

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY HENDERSON @Hendrover

IT'S an uphill task for teams of workers as they tackle their latest project in Northumberland National Park.

Work has started on a major peatland restoration project covering an area the size of 240 football pitches on the summit of Cheviot in Northumberland.

At 815 metres, Cheviot is the highest peak in the national park and it will be an hour-long daily trek to the top for the project teams.

The task will be to repair eroding peat haggs - exposed and drying peat in gulleys - which are releasing carbon into the atmosphere and adding to climate change.

The venture is one of the largest restoration projects of its type in the North of England, covering 151 hectares, and will prevent an estimated 585 tonnes of carbon dioxide being released each year from eroding peat.

It is the latest initiative from The North of England Peat Partnership, which last year secured funding as part of a PS10m Government peatland grant scheme and includes schemes in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Following considerable preparation and planning due to the remoteness of the area and sensitivity of the site, work has now started on Cheviot's summit plateau.

Up to four mechanical diggers will be working to reshape the peat haggs to encourage vegetation growth and prevent further erosion. Later in the year, heather and sphagnum moss will be harvested from the College Valley below and flown by helicopter in dump bags to be planted on the summit area.

A total of 80,000 cotton grass plug plants are also being grown, and will be planted near the end of the project in 2021.

Gill Thompson, ecologist at Northumberland National Park, said: "Peatlands are the largest terrestrial store for carbon, with more than all the trees around the world combined, and it is therefore vital to keep these in good condition to reduce carbon release. …

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