Peatland restoration in Scotland increases by 25% over last year

23 June 2023 

The number of peatland hectares put on the road to recovery by NatureScot’s Peatland ACTION team increased by 25% between 2022 and 2023 to 5,000 ha, reports the national nature agency today.

Vital in the fight to tackle climate change, peat covers more than 20% of Scotland and is crucial for water quality, richly diverse landscapes, slowing floods and wildfires, sustaining rural jobs and storing carbon. Peatlands in Scotland are estimated to hold the equivalent of 185 years’ worth of the country’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions. However, 80% of the UK’s peatlands – the majority of which are in Scotland - are estimated to be damaged and in need of restoration.

The NatureScot Peatland ACTION team delivered over 65% of the Scottish Government-funded Peatland ACTION programme between 2022 to 2023, as part of its partnership with Cairngorms National Park Authority, Loch Lomond &the Trossachs National Park Authority, Scottish Water, and Forestry and Land Scotland.

Working with a range of landowners and contractors across Scotland, NatureScot Peatland ACTION have completed over 50 restoration projects in 2022 – 2023. Some funding recipients in Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders and the Highlands are showcased talking about their experiences and the benefits they’ve seen on their land in a recently commissioned series of films.

As the NatureScot Peatland ACTION team looks to the future, it has also launched the first interactive peatland restoration data mapping portal of its kind in Scotland, offering access to valuable data and analysis tools. The public will be able to view completed peatland restoration projects across the country, as well as feasibility studies and details of peat depths and condition surveys. Future developments of the portal will also see water table depths included in the available data.

NatureScot’s Deputy Director of Green Economy, Claudia Rowse said: “Increased peatland restoration is vital to combat the climate and nature emergencies. Peatlands play such an important role in supporting our economic growth, improving our health and well-being, strengthening communities and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We must continue to build on the results we’ve achieved with our many partners to put thousands of hectares of peatlands on the route to becoming a nature-rich, biodiverse and net zero Scotland.”


Peatland ACTION funding comes through the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan for net zero, which in 2020 set out a commitment to invest £250 million over 10 years to support the restoration of at least 20,000 hectares of Scottish peatlands annually, towards a total of 250,000 hectares by 2030.

Peatland ACTION funding is delivered through a network of partner organisations. The Peatland ACTION delivery partners alongside NatureScot are Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Authority; Cairngorms National Park Authority; Forestry and Land Scotland; and Scottish Water – Sustainable Land Management Team.