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New grants to manage water on lowland peat

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Defra has announced a new £5.45 million pilot project to provide control of water levels for the preservation and rewetting of lowland peat. The Lowland Agricultural Peat Small Infrastructure Pilot (LAPSIP) project will support pilot schemes by internal drainage boards (IDBs) to install new water level management infrastructure and monitoring technology within drainage districts containing lowland peat. IDBs will be able to retain more water safely and reduce CO2 emissions from lowland peat.

The Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA) is supporting Defra with the delivery of the LAPSIP project.

  • IDBs can bid to receive grant funding of up to £250,000 per scheme, for all or part of the cost of a project.

  • project must contribute to the board’s water level management either directly, or by helping local farmers to make changes to management practices that reduce emissions from peatland soils and loss of peat.

  • enable IDBs to safely manage higher water levels in a part of a drainage district with peat soils, without increasing flood risk.

The LAPSIP project will fund 15 and 20 schemes from IDBs to install water level management infrastructure and monitoring technology will be funded by the project.

IDBs can use the following options to create higher water levels within a part of a drainage district safely:

  • installation of tilting gates

  • flow diversion and control devices

  • water level monitoring and telemetry systems

Other third-party funding sources for schemes that exceed the pilot grant cap of £250,000 may be used.

LAPSIP grants have to be substantially complete by 31 March 2025.

  • The grant scheme is being prepared and managed by ADA.

  • Grants will be issued directly from Defra once a scheme has been approved.

  • In the first instance ADA has invited IDBs to submit an expression of interest for schemes they are considering by Friday 4 August 2023.

  • The expressions of interest phase will not form part of any assessment of an IDB’s final bid. The aim is for ADA and Defra to gage and understand the likely level of interest, scope and nature of bids.

  • The bidding process is likely to open in late summer 2023, successful schemes will be informed by the end of 2023/early 2024.

The announcement of the LAPSIP project was coordinated with the publication by Defra of the Caudwell Report from the Lowland Agricultural Peat Task Force, which explored how lowland agricultural peat soils can be better managed to protect productive agriculture and contribute to the government’s target to achieve net zero by 2050.

The Caudwell Report was published alongside a commitment by the government for new investment and actions to improve lowland peat and reduce carbon emissions, which includes the LAPSIP project.

For further information please contact the LAPSIP project team at

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