Nestlé Waters UK, the Environment Agency, Severn Trent and the Harris & Sheldon Group have joined forces with Moors for the Future Partnership in a natural capital financing initiative to fund critical upland restoration work in the Peak District. It now means 80% of the project funding has been provided by private finance, alongside 20% from the Environment Agency, paving the way for commercial financing of essential moorland restoration.

Innovative restoration work including blocking of erosion gullies and sphagnum moss planting will create conditions where water may be held on the Combs Moss Moorland area above the Derbyshire town of Buxton in the Peak District for longer. Rewetting work will slow the flow of water from the moor, mitigating the risk of flooding in the town. In addition, increasing the amount of sphagnum moss present on the moor will enhance that effect, while also helping to increase biodiversity.

The project aligns with the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan which states that, while the public sector will remain a source of funding for the natural environment, it is critical that this sits alongside private sector investment.

The Environment Agency aims to have 336,000 properties across the whole of England better protected from flooding by 2027 by committing funding across a series of innovative projects and nature-based solutions.

Local employer, Nestlé Waters UK, operates the BUXTON natural mineral water and NESTLÉ PURE LIFE spring water bottling site in Buxton and is supporting the project as part of its efforts to lead the regeneration of local water cycles through nature-based solutions that provide benefits to the watershed and community.

Additional funding provided by Severn Trent to plant sphagnum moss and other native plant species on the Combs Moss site continues a successful relationship between the water company and Moors for the Future Partnership, that links to Severn Trent’s aim to improve biodiversity across 5,000 hectares of the Severn Trent catchment area by 2027.

By attracting funding for nature-based solutions, Moors for the Future Partnership will be able to complete works to rewet the moorland and slow the flow of water from the uplands into rivers, contributing to natural flood management for nearby communities like Buxton, where flooding has previously occurred along the convergence of two brooks which are of ongoing concern. Like all blanket bog moorland in the Peak District, it has been impacted by its close proximity to heavy industry and the pollution that was caused by the Industrial Revolution.