The Scottish Government has announced an extra £11m in peatland restoration funding in addition to the £3m awarded earlier this year.
Scotland’s peat soils cover more than 20% of the country and store around 1600 million tonnes of carbon.
When left undisturbed, peatland provides a significant natural sink of CO2, and also benefits the environment by providing an internationally important habitat, improving water quality and reducing flood risk.
However, the Scottish government noted that “many of our peatlands are not in good condition, as a result some areas of peatlands are releasing carbon dioxide rather than storing it”.
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 CO2 emissions.
Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland’s environment secretary, 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.”