Drones patrol Yorkshire Dales skies – to protect peat bogs


By Emily Flanagan, Reporter

THE use of drones is usually associated with foreign conflicts – but now unmanned aircraft are being employed to save stricken peat bogs.

The technology used in creating drones is now helping preserve the ancient threatened landscape in the Yorkshire Dales thanks to a joint venture between a wildlife charity and a science and technology body.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, known as UAVs, are being flown over peatland sites in and around Cray Moss in the dales, to collect data and help experts create a detailed picture of the extent and severity of peatland degradation.

Images sent back from the aircraft are turned into a 3D model of the landscape.

The project is being piloted by the Yorkshire Peat Partnership in an initiative with the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the National Trust.

Mark Brown, data and monitoring officer for the peat partnership, said: “This technology was really only used by the military before, but it’s got to the stage now where it’s become affordable. It wasn’t really available to organisations such as ours, which are charities.”

UAVs can take such detailed photographs of the landscape that over the next few years experts will be able to pinpoint to the centimetre how much sphagnum moss has been lost.