An £8 million investment will restore peatlands and help reduce carbon emissions, Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has revealed as she opened the funding for applications today.
Communities and land managers can apply for the Peatlands Action Fund which will help the Scottish Government deliver on its proposals to restore 250,000 hectares of peatlands by 2032.
Around 1.7 million hectares of Scotland is covered in peatlands and keeping them well-maintained mitigates against climate change by locking in carbon. If left in a degraded condition they produce greenhouse gas emissions rather than act as a sink for soaking up carbon.
Ms Cunningham opened the fund on a visit to the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Red Moss of Balerno reserve in Edinburgh.
“Restoring our peatlands and taking advantage of their value as a natural resource is crucial if we are to continue to build on our world leading low carbon ambitions, and reduce emissions by 66% by 2032.
“By increasing our investment more communities will be able to transform and use peatlands as an open space, regenerating it as a habitat for wildlife and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Since 2013 our peatland restoration work has already transformed more than 10,000 hectares with this new funding set to deliver a step change in our approach by restoring 8,000 hectares in 2017-18 and ultimately lead to our goal of 250,000 by 2032.
“Developing peatlands is just one area covered in our draft Climate Change Plan which sets out the real on the ground changes that need to happen across our economy to achieve our ambitious targets.”
SNH will deliver the fund on behalf of the Scottish Government. Andrew McBride, SNH Peatland Action Manager said:
‘This is wonderful news for our peatlands and our wildlife, as well as for tourism and rural jobs. The extra investment will almost double the amount of peatlands we can restore, and also get more people aware and involved in taking care of this valuable natural resource.
“Peatland Action is one of our key projects in the delivery of the 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity Peatland Action has worked closely with a wide range of land managers and communities.
“From this working relationship, we’ve seen the importance of healthy peatlands, not only to wildlife but also to many industries, including tourism, fisheries and the water industry. We look forward to continuing work with existing partners, and also meeting new faces interested in restoring our degraded peatlands.”
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