digger working on peatlands Scotland

St Pancras International: Project Peatlands

Project Peatlands is the innovative scheme at St Pancras Station that means your hasty cup of morning coffee or post-work boutique splurge all helps to fund vital environmental regeneration

As Camdenists, we’re really blessed to have St Pancras International on our doorsteps. It’s a convenient daily travel hub as well as a uniquely atmospheric destination for socialising, dining and shopping, while also serving as a gateway to wider eco-friendly train travel across the UK and Europe. But its connection up to the verdant expanses of the Scottish Boarders goes beyond the cold steel of the railway lines.

Project Peatlands is a pioneering campaign that gives us all the chance to make a positive environmental impact when going about our daily lives. Every sale made, every day, at retailers in the Station contributes meaningfully towards fighting global heating.

“We initially considered planting trees,” says Station owner HS1’s Sustainability Manager Sam Sage of their initiative, “but instead opted for peatland restoration as the benefits are large, but they’re not as widely understood. In the UK, peatlands actually store around three times more carbon than our forests do. Damaged peatlands release this into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, so restoring them is vitally important in the fight against climate change. We want to keep spreading this word.”

Forest Carbon photo from Project Peatlands, Kings Cross

As well as raising awareness to travellers and customers, Project Peatlands an eco-project with genuinely measurable outcomes. “On average, every four sales at St Pancras prevent a projected 1kg of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere,” says Sam. “So, for any local customer who might be buying groceries or necessities from shops such as Boots or Holland & Barratt, they can do this and make a positive difference to the environment at the same time.”

Just this April, thanks to the spending of visitors in the Station, it passed the milestone of having prevented 2 million kg of CO2 from entering the atmosphere through peatlands restoration. It’s now well on the way to reaching the 3 million target HS1 first set out to achieve.

“Peatland restoration is largely about stopping them from drying out,” Sam tells us, “so a saturated peatland is a healthy peatland. This means that much of the restoration work focusses on blocking man-made grips and gullies to help retain water rather than allowing it to run-off. To facilitate this work, we partnered with Forest Carbon; a business that develops nature-based climate projects in the UK including woodland creation. Their peatland restoration projects are certified by the Peatland Code which is supported by the IUCN, assuring the additionality and permanence of each tonne of carbon stored. I’m excited that we’re planning to take the train to visit the Gameshope Loch site in the Scottish Borders soon to observe the good work that Forest Carbon are undertaking on our behalf.”

St Pancras Station Project Peatlands

Meanwhile, the rest of us should always consider taking the train from St Pancras if we want to ensure our travel choices are as sustainable as possible. As the UK’s only land connection with mainland Europe, HS1 is unique, and its carbon savings significant. For example, a Eurostar journey to Paris emits just 4.0kgs of CO2 per person, compared to 57.8kg CO2 per person for the equivalent flight.

And if you want a quick green UK getaway, Kent is home to beautiful sandy beaches, a fantastic creative and art scene, stunning castles and areas of outstanding natural beauty, all around an hour-or-so away via HS1 from St Pancras. Leading travel brand, Lonely Planet, have put Kent’s Heritage Coast at number four on their list of the world’s best regions to visit – ‘Best in Travel 2022’.

Here at Camdenist we have lots more stories.

GROW

Find this article in our latest print magazine: Camdenist Presents: GROW, out now across the borough and Central London.

@stpancrasinternational

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