Scotland announces peatland restoration funding

Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash

Projects to restore Scotland’s peatlands will get a share of £22 million this year to significantly reduce carbon emissions and support biodiversity as part of the government’s climate change plan.

Degraded peatlands emit more carbon than they remove, becoming a net source of greenhouse gases.

Restoring peatlands will help remove and store carbon from the atmosphere, support habitats and species, improve water quality and manage flood risk.

Last year the Scottish Government announced a £250 million ten-year funding package to support peatland restoration, with a target of restoring 250,000 hectares of degraded peatland by 2030. In 2021-22, five partners including NatureScot and Scottish Water will get a share of £22 million to deliver a range of new and existing restoration projects across Scotland.

Environment Minister Mairi McAllan commented on the announcement: “Peatlands are an integral part of Scotland’s cultural and natural heritage, and cover more than 20% of our country.

“When in good condition, they offer multiple benefits to our environment and communities. Restoring Scotland’s peatlands can help us fight climate change, support biodiversity and provide good, green jobs – often in rural communities.

“That’s why restoring and protecting this precious natural resource is a key part of our response to the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.

“Scotland is centre stage this year with COP26 in Glasgow and our significant investment in peatland restoration is just one of the ways we are demonstrating our world leading climate action.”

The Scottish Government has committed in the Climate Change Plan update and the current Programme for Government to restoring 250,000 hectares of degraded peatland by 2030, with an annual target of 20,000 hectares.

The confirmed budget allocations for each of the peatland restoration programme delivery partners is offered in return for undertaking an annual amount of peatland restoration.

Restoring peatland involves using machinery and expert advice to improve areas of wetlands, often by undertaking activities to reduce drainage and slow the flow of water on peatlands, as well as covering areas of peat exposed to the elements.