Peatland ACTION marks first decade with new guide

2 February 2023

Scotland’s pioneering Peatland ACTION programme has published a vital new source of information and guidance on peatland restoration as it marks its first decade.

The best practice guide to peatland restoration techniques has been compiled by NatureScot, Scotland’s nature agency, and is built on the shared experiences of the Peatland ACTION programme since its inception in 2012. As well as providing an overview of future restoration requirements in Scotland, it serves as a guide to the types of work that has already been undertaken over the past decade.

The guide includes novel techniques developed by the Peatland ACTION partnership, such as wave damming and zipping and new generation forest-to-bog restoration options. It includes information on the requirements for peatland restoration in Scotland and the potential means to achieve success, and paves the way towards a UK-wide set of principles.

NatureScot’s Peatland ACTION Programme Manager, Peter Hutchinson said: “Since 2012, Peatland ACTION has set over 35,000 ha of degraded peatland on the road to recovery. These habitats are the basis of rural farming, sporting, tourism and crofting and are vital to our economy and Scotland’s commitment to restore nature by 2045.

 “Establishing a best practice guide for how to restore Scotland’s peatlands is a welcome achievement as we mark Peatland ACTION’s first decade and demonstrates that our sights are set firmly on the future as we support the sector with the calibre of jobs and the clarity of professional guidance it requires to ensure its contribution to mitigating the climate emergency.”

Peatlands are one of Scotland’s largest degraded ecosystems. When peatlands are degraded the benefits they bring are lost and they become sources of carbon instead of sinks – contributing to climate change rather than mitigating it. 

NatureScot remains the lead delivery partner responsible for meeting Scotland’s peatland restoration targets (along with Forestry and Land Scotland, Cairngorm National Park Authority, Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority and Scottish Water). It is training new contractors and designers to support Scotland’s nature restoration ambitions, and developing pre-apprenticeship schemes, as well as the country’s already over-subscribed first academic course in peatland restoration with Scotland’s Rural College to support an expanded workforce with relevant skills.

Read the new Peatland ACTION guidance