Latest Peatland Code revision now open for consultation

The UK’s Peatland Code is a voluntary certification standard for UK peatland projects wishing to market the climate benefits of peatland restoration, which provides assurances to voluntary carbon market buyers that the climate benefits being sold are real, quantifiable, additional and permanent.

The Peatland Code sets out a series of best practice requirements including a standard method for quantification of greenhouse gas (GHG) benefit. Independent validation to this standard provides assurance and clarity for buyers with regards the quantity, quality of emissions reductions purchased.

The Peatland Code is regularly updated and a draft of Version 2.1 is now open for consultation. The consultation will run until 20th May 2024. (See below.)

A significant barrier to peatland restoration is financial with current public funding being both limited and competitive. To make peatland restoration economically attractive additional funding sources are required.

One such source of funding is the sale of ecosystem services, such as climate benefit. To access these voluntary carbon markets buyers, need to be given assurance that the climate benefits being sold are real, quantifiable, additional and permanent.

Peatland carbon
Peatlands are naturally waterlogged systems. This slows down decomposition and enables plant remains, containing carbon removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis, to be laid down as peat. As a result, peatlands in their natural state accumulate carbon, in the form of peat, at a rate of approximately 1mm a year.

The majority of the UK’s peatlands, however, are no longer sequestering and storing carbon. As a result of decades of unsuitable land management practices, it has instead become a significant net source of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) currently emitting approximately 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) each year.

Peatland Code V2.1
The Peatland Code team is inviting public and stakeholder comments on draft V2.1. The main changes are: a grouping option, updates for monitoring vegetation in Modified to Rewetted Modified bog, more comprehensive guide for using the risk buffer, risk assessment and clarity around surveying in areas with shallow peat. (Version 3.0 is expected in the second quarter of 2025 and is likely to include an MRV option for biodiversity credits that will either be stacked or bundled.)

Dr Renée Kerkvliet-Hermans, the Peatland Code co-ordinator for the IUCN UK Peatland Programme, said, “Our ongoing commitment to developing a robust code for peatland restoration involves continuous refinement of the Peatland Code. The launch of Version 2 was a significant step forward and, to ensure transparency, we are actively engaging with stakeholders to ensure this remains fit for purpose.

“As part of this commitment to continuous improvement any changes to the Peatland Code methodology or Peatland Code version changes, such as the version 2.1, now have a 30 day public consultation process to allow as many different stakeholders to comment and feedback as possible.

“Following the public consultation period, the comments and feedback received will be reviewed and if possible incorporated into the final version 2.1. However, major issues might be pushed back to version 3.0, which is expected in the second quarter of 2025.

“A summary report with anonymous results from the consultation will be published on our website. This version, 2.1, mainly has some small tweaks and updated guidance, but there are no major methodology changes in this version.”

Find out more and take part in the consultation

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