Peatland ACTION scoops double success

November 10, 2023

A Scottish Government-funded programme that offers landowners, farmers and crofters 100% funding and support to restore their damaged peatlands has won the Holyrood Climate Action Award for Nature and the Environment, and gained Highly Commended in the Nature of Scotland Awards. 

The Holyrood Climate Action Award, presented at an awards ceremony in Edinburgh on 8 November, recognises key players across seven categories including technology, nature, community, and the circular economy, who are making significant contributions to Scotland’s Net Zero journey. It was launched in 2021 to coincide with Glasgow as the host city of COP26. 

Peatland ACTION was also presented with a Highly Commended certificate in the Landscape Restoration category at the prestigious RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards ceremony on 22 November. 

Peter Hutchinson, NatureScot Peatland ACTION Programme Strategy Manager, and Barry Dunne, NatureScot Peatland ACTION Operations Manager, receiving the Holyrood Climate Action Award for Nature and the Environment at the awards ceremony in Edinburgh © Andrew Perry

Commenting on their success, Peter Hutchinson, NatureScot Peatland ACTION Head of Programme and Strategy said, "We are so very pleased that our work has been recognised not once but twice in this way. It is a vote of confidence not only in all those who work for Peatland ACTION, but the many, many landowners, agents, designers and contractors that work with us. Without them we could not achieve the massive benefits that landscape-scale peatland restoration can bring to Scotland’s climate and biodiversity. We hope that in achieving this recognition we will encourage even more to work with us in the future."

Peatland ACTION, a partnership programme led by NatureScot, with Scottish Water, Scottish Forestry and Land, and Scotland’s two National Park Authorities, has put Scotland at the forefront of landscape-scale peatland restoration in Europe. By providing 100% funding, on-the-ground support, innovative techniques and technical know-how that are needed to successfully restore our peatlands, it plays a vital part in tackling Scotland’s climate and biodiversity crises, as well as improving water quality, mitigating both flooding and wildfires, and providing new rural green jobs.  

Healthy peatlands can capture and store ten times as much carbon as any other land-based habitat. But at present Scotland has nearly 2m hectares of damaged peatlands, contributing 15% of its annual greenhouse gas emissions – the same amount as all our domestic transport. The work that Peatland ACTION is doing with landowners has so far resulted in over 43,000 hectares of restoration work on damaged peatlands, giving it a significant role in helping Scotland achieve its net-zero target by 2045. 

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