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Peatland Springs into ACTION

Date: 17 Mar 2017

On a beautiful sunny morning in March, Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform in Scotland, officially re-launched the Peatland ACTION project.

Andrew McBride and Roseanna Cunningham MSP on Red Moss of Balerno

News of an additional £8 million was announced in January to allow Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to continue working with its peatland partners to restore a further 8,000 ha in the coming year. This doubles the amount of funding provided by the Scottish Government since the project began in 2012, and almost the area to be restored.

The value of healthy peatlands is now being seen more widely, particularly regarding their role in combatting climate change; which is why such an ambitious target has been set in Scotland’s draft Climate Change Plan: to restore 250,000 ha of degraded peatlands by 2032.

So why restore peatlands?

  • In Scotland, peatlands cover more than 20% of the land cover – that’s almost 2 million hectares, the same size as Wales! 80% is estimated to be damaged to some degree. Damaged bogs are a source of climate-warming greenhouse gases, reduced water quality and other diminished services.
  • Peat is like porridge – 10% decaying plant material = the oats, and 90% water = the milk! It stores carbon and is currently estimated to store the equivalent of 140 years’ worth of Scotland’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions – 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon!
  • Healthy peatlands store water and help maintain steady flow rates, helping to reduce downstream flooding.
  • We have 94 Special Area of Conservation (SACs) designated for peatland habitat that in turn support uniquely adapted plants and animals. Many of which are in a poor state, requiring priority action.
  • Peatlands play a crucial role in many of our lives, from supporting farming to tourism to rural jobs. As well as having a strong cultural significance.

Peatland restoration can come in many different sizes – from ditch blocking to hagg re-profiling, which is why SNH started a library of restoration videos to demonstrate what it’s all about. They’ve also released a NEW video highlighting why people need peatlands. Please take a look and get in touch to start discussing potential projects:

Peatland ACTION will open for applications from the 1st April 2017. For more information visit www.snh.gov.uk/peatlandaction or email peatlandaction@snh.gov.uk.