Scottish Government launches £22m fund to restore peatlands

Up to a quarter of Scotland is covered in peat soil, which can capture and store up to 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon.

Scottish Government launches £22m fund to restore peatlands NatureScot via NatureScot
Fund: Government announces £22m to aid climate fight.

The Scottish Government has launched a £22m fund for peatland restoration projects.

Up to a quarter of Scotland is covered in peat soil, which can capture and store up to 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon – equivalent to 140 years of Scotland’s emissions – according to the Scottish Government.

However, 80% of the peatland in Scotland is believed to be in need of restoration and is releasing emissions as opposed to capturing them.

In the second stage of a 10-year, £250m project to restore peatland, the Scottish Government has opened a fund for land managers, farmers and landowners.

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For the first time, multi-year projects will also be considered, allowing for a more strategic approach.

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Restoration of degraded peatland is a vital nature based solution to protecting Scotland’s biodiversity and ensuring we end our contribution to climate change, as well as supporting skilled land-based jobs in rural communities across Scotland.

“I am delighted that for the first time we can now also invite multi-year projects that can overcome some of the barriers to significantly boosting rates of restoration, and look forward to this funding round injecting fresh impetus and energy as we lead the way in a green recovery from Covid-19.

“This approach allows us to invest in projects at scale that will deliver the sort of largescale carbon sequestration we need to meet our climate change targets – and make significant improvements to our environment too.”

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NatureScot chief executive Francesca Osowska welcomed the announcement, adding: “Restoring our peatlands offers a clear nature-based solution to the climate crisis by locking in carbon, enhancing biodiversity, improving water quality and mitigating flood risk.

“Peatland restoration can also play a key role in Scotland’s green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic by creating jobs and skills opportunities in the rural economy.”