CONSERVATIONISTS are celebrating a green milestone after successfully restoring 17,000 hectares of North Yorkshire’s peatlands.

The completed total is the equivalent of about 10,000 football pitches, and means the Yorkshire Peat Partnership is well on track to hitting its target of 35,000 hectares by 2017.

The partnership was created five years ago with the express aim of restoring and conserving the region’s valuable peat resource.

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Programme manager Tim Thom said: “Peat is important for the wildlife it supports, the water it holds and the carbon it stores. Not only that, but it creates healthy upland areas that everyone can enjoy and that is why this project is so vital."

He added: “I am immensely proud of this project and of people who made it all possible and would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication.”

The Yorkshire Peat Partnership is led by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England, the North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales and the Environment Agency.

They are supported by Yorkshire Water, the National Trust, Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, Pennine Prospects, Moors for the Future and Nidderdale AONB.