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Scottish Government announces £11m funding to restore Scotland’s peatland

Scottish Government announces £11m funding to restore Scotland’s peatland

Peatland - Image credit: Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has announced £11m of funding to help repair and restore Scotland’s peatland areas in light of the global climate emergency.

The additional funding follows a commitment of £3m earlier this year.

Restoration work includes improving areas of wetlands by reducing drainage and slowing water flow on peatland, as well as covering areas of peat exposed to the elements, which helps to lock in carbon and reduce CO2 emissions.

This follows a target in the UK Committee on Climate Change’s report last month to restore over half of the UK’s peatlands, with the majority in Scotland.

Scotland’s peatlands cover more than 20 per cent of the country and stores around 1600 million tonnes of carbon.

When left undisturbed they provide a significant natural sink of CO2 and also benefit the environment by providing an internationally important habitat, improving water quality and reducing flood risk.

However, because many Scottish peatlands are not in good condition, with the result that some are releasing carbon dioxide rather than storing it.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The impact of peatland degradation on climate change cannot be overstated – particularly in Scotland, where around 25 per cent of the country is covered in peat soil.

“If all of the CO2 from that peatland were released then it would be the equivalent of more than 120 years of Scotland’s emissions being produced at once.

“Restoring peatland has an important part to play in delivering the Scottish Government’s climate change ambitions.

“By doing this we’re also providing an important habitat for plants and wildlife, improving water quality, and mitigating flood risk.”

Scottish Natural Heritage, which is leading Peatland ACTION with funding from Scottish Government, welcomed the funding.

SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said: “Peatlands in good health have many benefits for people and nature.

“Nature-based solutions – like the work Peatland Action is undertaking to restore and lock-in Scotland’s peatland carbon stores – are integral to solving the climate emergency we are all facing.

“As Scotland aims to move to a low carbon economy and meet its ambitious climate change agenda, it is important that we continue to build on the excellent work already completed.”

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