Peatland ACTION - Training and skills for restoration delivery

Resources and information for peatland restoration contractors.

Peatland restoration is primarily carried out by skilled operators using low ground pressure excavators.  Generally speaking, the landowner who has applied for a Peatland ACTION grant will tender via Public Contracts Scotland for contractors to carry out the work.  

In order to support businesses to get involved in peatland restoration we offer site visits and demonstration events; training sessions on tendering for the work, as well as occasional one and two-day training courses.  In 2023/24 we offered funding support for businesses wishing to bring in new entrant operators.   A Technical Compendium and videos also provide a useful starting point to understand the techniques required in restoration.

New entrant scheme

NatureScot, as the lead delivery partner in Peatland ACTION, ran a New Entrant Training Scheme – Machine Operator in 2023/24 to help develop capacity in the workforce delivering restoration work on the ground. By supporting employers to offset some of the costs of training machine operators during their initial learning phase, this short-term training scheme aimed to increase the number of new entrants being brought into the sector.

Partners across Peatland ACTION have highlighted the shortage of machine operators skilled and experienced in peatland restoration as being a significant constraint on the delivery of projects. With an increase year-on-year in the areas of restoration being funded, the skills shortage risks being a potential limiting factor in addressing degraded peatland. Stakeholders highlighted the need for training and mentoring to provide on-the-job experience, given the nature of the work in extremely sensitive, wetland environments and the specialist nature of the technical skills required.

The project provided funding for 9 businesses to deliver work-based, learner-focused training and mentoring of up to 6 weeks in duration. Trainees learned about the basic principles and reasons for peatland restoration, an understanding of water movement and the sensitivity of peatland habitats, how to locate restoration features and how to track safely and efficiently while limiting the impact of the machinery on site.  

Trainee recruitment took place from October 2023 and all training was completed by 31 March 2024.  There may be new schemes opening in 2024/2025, so watch this space.

Read: With prior experience in groundwork but no peatland restoration experience, Leodhas Macdonald has been selected for the apprenticeship

Tendering training through SDP

Peatland ACTION is a member of the Supplier Development Programme (SDP). It is a business support initiative using training and information to improve the competitiveness of local businesses.

The SDP is a partnership of Local Authorities, Scottish Government and other public bodies working together to bring business support in all aspects of tendering.

They run training and events to improve the tender readiness of local suppliers through early intervention and early engagement.

We work with SDP to highlight opportunities for peatland restoration contracts. They run webinars with us to help businesses engage with our work and the tendering requirements.

These webinars are free to attend by registering with the Supplier Development Programme; register and login to learn more about booking training and events, and access additional resources.

Peatland ACTION restoration training - building capacity for ecological restoration

NatureScot Peatland ACTION work in collaboration with The Crichton Carbon Centre who help to deliver our restoration training programme. One and two-day training events are held across Scotland, and cover both technical and practical content. The events are a space for open, interactive discussions on peatland restoration.


The training sessions are specifically designed for:


•            Contractors looking to undertake peatland restoration projects

•            Consultants looking to undertake peatland restoration projects, peatland condition assessments and feasibility studies

•            Ecological Clerk of Works

•            Agents preparing peatland restoration projects

•            Landowners and Managers


A typical training session includes:


•            An overview of Scotland’s peatland extent and condition

•            An introduction to planning and designing a peatland restoration project

•            An overview of restoration techniques

•            A site visit to look at examples of restoration techniques in action (for in person events only)


If you would be interested in registering for one of these events, please get in touch with [email protected] or have a look at the Crichton Carbon Centre website

Demonstration events

Peatland ACTION offer a regular series of site visits to peatland restoration sites, normally on a monthly basis, to discuss and learn about restoration techniques with experienced contractors, designers and Peatland ACTION project officers. Feedback from previous visits show that these outdoor sessions are very helpful in understanding what techniques work well, in situ.  

Last year we had a number of visits in a variety of settings, focussing on different training needs.  These included events for contractors on how businesses can get involved in peatland restoration work, events for new designers on putting together restoration plans and also exploring challenging specific restoration scenarios like bare peat, urban sites and monitoring.

If you are interested in attending future events, keep an eye on our events page or email [email protected] to register your interest. You can also email us to sign up for our mailing list.

Peatland restoration guidance - technical compendium and videos

The technical compendium of peatland restoration techniques is built on the shared experience of the Peatland ACTION Programme, since its inception in 2012, in applying peatland restoration techniques and assessing their outcomes.


As well as providing an overview of the procedural and technical requirements for peatland restoration in Scotland, it also offers an ideal place to start learning about the types of restoration interventions that have been applied to date by Peatland ACTION.


Learn more about the different techniques and how they are applied in peatland restoration settings.


We have also put together a suite of technical restoration demonstration videos to help land managers and contractors learn about the techniques and their successful implementation on-the-ground.

View our Peatland ACTION playlist on our YouTube channel for a full list of techniques (ditch blocking, bunding, reprofiling, and surface smoothing)

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