A Living, Working Landscape - Outcome 3.2

Outcome 3.2: The National Park makes an important contribution to achieving sustainable development and responding to climate change.

Target – To promote and implement sustainable land management practices which contribute to ecosystem services using the natural capital provided by the National Park; and encourage the production of renewable energy from sources compatible with the National Park’s distinctive qualities.

Performance – Good

Trend – Improving

Impact – Improvements in land management have seen increased stability of upland bogs, i.e. improved hydrology and reduced erosion. The NNP Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services have been assessed as part of a joint Northern Upland Chain Local Nature Partnership (NUCLNP) project and separately, the UK National Parks have commissioned a report into the carbon footprint of each National Park. Both of these reports have indicated that for Northumberland, the restoration of degraded peat is the highest priority activity on the path to improved Natural Capital and Net Zero.

Key Points

  • Peat restoration is the most important means of reducing carbon emissions in NNP.
  • Landscape scale approaches to improving land management have resulted in improving the condition of upland peat bog habitats, as evidenced in SSSI data.
  • The government invested £10m to restore 6,580 hectares of peat bogs across the UK with the Cheviot summit contributing 150 Ha to this goal. This project concluded at the end of 2021.
  • Further peat restoration work is underway supported by the newly formed Northumberland Peat Partnership, which has a target area from the Tyne gap north to the Scottish border. In 2020, the hydrology of 12 ha of peat was restored with more projects in the pipeline.
  • Projects encouraging tree planting, specifically the Northumberland Woodland Creation Partnership (Great Northumberland Forest), are being explored with the intention of significantly increasing tree cover across the county and native woodland cover in the National Park.