Record high peatland restoration

Improving climate change resilience.

More than 10,000 hectares of damaged peatland has been restored in Scotland over the last year, reducing harmful emissions and accelerating progress to net zero.

Ahead of World Peatlands Day on 2 June, the average rate of peatland restoration has more than doubled in the last two years and, thanks to more than 100 projects across the country, 2023-24 saw 10,360 hectares restored – the highest amount achieved in a single year.

Peatlands cover nearly two million hectares of Scotland – with nearly three-quarters of these degraded – and account for two-thirds of the UK’s peatland.

The Scottish Government has pledged £250 million to restore damaged peatlands, which release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, accounting for around 15% of Scotland’s emissions.

Agriculture Minister Jim Fairlie said:

“Restoring degraded peatland is one of the most cost-effective ways we can reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change. There are many benefits, such as reducing flooding risks, improving water quality and improving local biodiversity.

“Increasing private investment in peatland restoration and maximising the community benefits from these projects is crucial. By increasing the pace and scale of peatland restoration we can restore our natural environment and tackle climate change more effectively and I am very pleased to mark this achievement ahead of World Peatlands Day.

“I want to thank everyone across the Peatland ACTION partnership for all their hard work and commitment this year on achieving this significant milestone.”

NatureScot Chair, Professor Colin Galbraith said:

“As key partners in the Scottish Government’s Peatland ACTION partnership, NatureScot is accelerating the vital work needed to reach the ambitious target of 250,000 hectares of peatland being restored by 2030.

“Putting Scotland’s degraded peatlands on the road to recovery makes a vitally important contribution to reducing greenhouse gas as well as providing broader benefits for biodiversity and water management.

“Collectively, these reduce flood and fire risk and increase community resilience to the climate emergency.”


Peatland ACTION - Data mapping portal | NatureScot

The Scottish Government funds five direct delivery partners to carry out peatland restoration projects through the Peatland ACTION Partnership - NatureScot, Forestry and Land Scotland, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority and Scottish Water. More information can be found here: Peatland ACTION

Healthy peatlands have a central role in mitigating and adapting to the linked climate and nature emergencies.  In good condition, peatlands provide multiple co-benefits: capturing and storing carbon, supporting nature, reducing flood risk, improving water quality and providing places that can support physical and mental wellbeing.

Peatlands can be restored in various ways, such as re-wetting the land by installing dams to block drains, smoothing ploughed ridges and furrows, and removing trees and reducing grazing intensity.

Scotland’s Nature blog - World Peatlands Day – reasons to celebrate!


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