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24 January, 2017

£8 million for peatland restoration projects is a welcome investment

Biodiversity, water quality and our response to climate change will all benefit from the Scottish Government’s latest investment in work to restore our precious peatlands, says Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

SNH welcomes the announcement by Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham of a further £8 million for the award-winning Peatland Action initiative it has run since 2012. Peatland Action is one of the key projects helping to deliver the 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity

The investment will allow SNH to continue working with its Peatland Action partners to restore a further 8,000ha of this vital habitat, to add to over 10,000ha of peatland already restored under the scheme. Peatland restoration involves blocking miles and miles of ditches, as well as other measures, to reduce the rapid runoff of water from the bare peat surfaces.

Andrew McBride, Peatland Action Manager, said: ‘This is excellent news for our peatlands, wildlife, tourism and rural jobs. The additional investment next year will allow us to almost double the amount of peatland restored, and also widen the scope of the project to ensure people are more aware and involved in the care of this valuable natural resource.

“Peatland Action has worked closely with a wide range of land managers and communities. From this working relationship we have seen the importance of healthy peatlands, not only to wildlife, but also 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. .’

More than 20% of Scotland is covered by peat. Healthy peatlands provide benefits to us all, including by storing carbon. However, damaged peatlands can release their carbon into the atmosphere. Work exploring how we cope with the changes brought about by climate change, whilst limiting further change, is a top priority for SNH.

The Peatland Action Project recently fought off competition from around the UK to pick up the prestigious Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) Best Practice Award for Large Scale Practical Conservation.

In the next few weeks, Peatland Action will announce a call for applications to the fund. Anyone wishing to discuss a potential project or wanting more information can contact SNH at


Note to Editor

The Scottish Biodiversity Strategy Route Map was published by Scottish Government in June 2015. It sets out the big steps needed to implement the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy 2020 Challenge, including restoring ecosystems, conserving wildlife, and sustainably managing land, freshwater and the marine environment. The SBS 2020 Challenge is Scotland’s response to the Aichi Targets set by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity calling for a step change in efforts to halt the loss of biodiversity and restore essential services that a healthy natural environment provides.

Contact information

Dominic Shann
Job Title
Media relations lead for marine management
01463 725157
Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help people understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

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CreagMeagaidh-D3500: Creag Meagaidh NNR, (C) SNH, one-off use


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