News

Tackling climate change

Published: 24 Jun 2019 22:00

Additional £11 million for peatland restoration.

The Scottish Government has committed significant funding to help repair and restore Scotland’s peatland areas, which store around 1600 million tonnes of carbon.

In light of the global climate emergency, an extra £11 million has been allocated to fund projects to restore degraded peatlands, following an initial commitment of £3 million 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, helping to lock in carbon and reduce potentially harmful C02 emissions.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“The impact of peatland degradation on climate change cannot be overstated – particularly in Scotland, where around 25% of the country is covered in peat soil. If all of the C02 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.”

Welcoming the funding, Scottish Natural Heritage (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.”

Background

Scotland’s peat soils cover more than 20% of the country and stores around 1600 million tonnes of carbon.

The vast areas of peatland in Scotland provide a significant natural sink of CO2, when left undisturbed, and also benefits the environment by providing an internationally important habitat, improving water quality and reducing flood risk.

It is only when our peatlands are in a healthy state that the benefits to climate change can be realised. Many of our peatlands are not in good condition, as a result some area of peatlands are releasing carbon dioxide rather than storing it.

Peatland ACTION - led by SNH, with funding from Scottish Government - is working with land managers and partners to restore this vital carbon sink.

The UK Committee on Climate Change’s scenario for reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, as set out in its 2 May report, includes restoring over half of the UK’s peatlands. These are located predominantly in Scotland.