Santander UK announced as a Founding Partner for National Parks UK ‘Net Zero With Nature’ initiative
Nature-based carbon reduction project aims to help tackle climate change, contribute to the UK’s net zero ambition, and enhance local biodiversity in the UK
Ahead of COP26, National Parks UK and Santander UK today announce a pioneering new partnership that highlights how nature restoration in National Parks can contribute towards combating climate change.
Santander is confirmed as a Founding Partner of the ‘Net Zero With Nature’ strategy, which defines the role that the National Parks can play in the UK’s fight against climate change and the biodiversity crisis. Santander will fund a new project involving the restoration of 220 hectares of damaged peatland in the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. This restoration site has the potential to avoid more than 16,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over its first 5 years and will help to establish nature-based solutions in the UK at scale.
Each carbon credit will be assured by a UK government-recognised standard and independently validated by qualified auditors. The peatland restoration project in the Cairngorms National Park will be designed and validated in accordance with the Peatland Code methodology.
The National Parks contain almost a quarter (24%) of the UK’s peatland, offering a significant opportunity for emissions mitigation: ecologists estimate that restoring degraded peat could mitigate nearly 5% of the UK’s entire annual emissions.
However, the UK’s peatlands are mostly degraded with just one fifth remaining in a near-natural state. This can increase the risk of flooding and result in rising emissions as carbon that would have been safely stored underground is released. Restoring damaged peatland stops emissions and leads to improved biodiversity and reduced flood risk.
Peatland carbon will also play a significant role in meeting the UK’s Net Zero target. In December 2020, the statutory Climate Change Committee set a target of restoring 79% of the UK’s peatlands by 2050. Peatland restoration is also a key component of the Scottish Government Climate Change Plan to meet net-zero by 2045.
Grant Moir, CEO of Cairngorms National Park said: “We know that the National Parks can play a major role in fighting the impacts of climate change, restoring nature and ensuring that local communities can benefit from the transition to a green future. But to achieve the scale and pace of nature restoration that we urgently need, we must work with a range of partners, and the private sector has a huge role to play. That’s why it is so encouraging to see Santander UK step up to help us find UK-based solutions to today’s biggest environmental challenges.”