A team of volunteers from Santander UK swapped the office for the great outdoors this month when they pitched in to help restore degraded peatlands in Cairngorms National Park.
The global bank is a founding partner of Revere – a collaboration between Palladium and National Parks UK – and as well as financially supporting the project, staff from Santander were keen to see first-hand how the innovative funding commitment is helping to restore the landscape in the UK’s largest National Park.
Vital habitat for wildlife
Often referred to as the rainforests of the UK, peatlands are internationally important. Healthy peat bogs store carbon, provide healthy drinking water and are a vital habitat for wildlife and plants but because of past management practices and the slow-growing and fragile nature of peat, damaged peat releases carbon leading to climate change.
Led by the Balmoral Estate Ranger Service, Santander group spent the day at Loch Muick on the Balmoral Estate, taking part in hands-on tasks including grip blocking and damming eroded peat gullies to stop water flow across the bare peat and planting sphagnum moss which will create a thick, mossy carpet and soak up the excess water and prevent carbon escaping into the atmosphere.
Over one quarter of the Cairngorms National Park is made up of peatlands or blanket bogs and at least 80% of these bogs are damaged. Santander UK has shown their commitment by funding the peatland restoration in the Cairngorms National Park to a healthy state. This will ensure the carbon is sequestered, leading to long-term benefits on climate change.
Sarah Goonetilleke, Head of Retail Distribution, Wealth Management and Insurance Division at Santander UK, said: “It was fantastic to have the opportunity to get my hands dirty and get involved with the important work of the Cairngorms National Parks. The team worked hard and understood how nature itself can reduce carbon if we take care of it.”
Tackling the pressing climate crisis
Revere works with landowners and farmers throughout all of the UK’s 15 National Parks to catalyse private finance to help restore biodiversity at the scale and pace needed to tackle the pressing climate crisis by designing nature restoration projects that will generate income through the sales of ecosystem services.
Naomi Conway, Director at National Parks Partnerships, said: “Santander UK saw the potential of Revere at its inception and decided to be part of this project. Without them and other funders we wouldn’t be able to do the work that’s needed to restore nature in our National Parks at the scale and pace needed.”
“And as well as having them as one of our major funders, it’s heartening to see the depth of their involvement and interest in Revere. Seeing the volunteers get out into the park and physically help with the work of restoring the damaged peatland is wonderful. The project only officially launched last October but already people feel a real connection to the work we are doing and to achieve that in such a short space of time shows the importance of what we are doing here.”