Peatlands provide a wide range of ecosystem services, the most important of which are terrestrial carbon storage, maintenance of biodiversity and protection of water resources. Exploitation of UK peatlands may be detrimental to these services, but scientific understanding and quantification of the effects is currently limited. This paper considers the possibility of imposing a levy on the exploitation of peatland, which would be used to fund high-quality prioritised research into the impacts of such human interventions, thereby enabling improvements to environmental management during the development process. The viability of the concept was explored with a group of peatland stakeholders. The group included most of the significant stakeholders with an interest in development on peatland, including regulators, developers and consultants. Qualitative and semi-quantitative responses were gathered by direct consultation with individuals and using a questionnaire to determine group responses. The latter were generally positive. Offered a choice of research funding mechanisms, stakeholders responded most positively to a levy. Whilst other funding mechanisms were also viewed positively a levy (in the form proposed or with some modification) was regarded as equitable by a large majority and workable by a smaller majority. Developers were reluctant to pledge full support to the proposal but recognised the importance of a number of the concerns that it was designed to address. Crown Copyright (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.