Restoring Scotland's Peatlands

More than 20% of Scotland is covered by peat – and keeping our peatlands healthy is vital to tackling climate change.

Scotland’s National Peatland Plan highlights the major contribution peatlands make to our landscapes, and cultural and natural heritage. Many of our iconic views are framed and coloured by peatlands, from the vast expanses associated with the north Highlands and Islands of the west of Scotland to the bogs and fens just a short distance from most of our towns and cities.

These areas add much more than dramatic scenery, they provide a special and unique habitat for wildlife and are an essential ingredient for farming, tourism and crofting.

More than 20% of Scotland is covered by peat and much of our drinking water filters through these peatland catchments making them crucial for clear drinking water. Peatlands also hold most of Scotland’s carbon store (they are estimated to hold the equivalent of 140 years’ worth of Scotland’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions), and so are vital in helping us to tackle climate change.

Healthy peatlands provide many benefits to us all – but not all of our peatlands are in good health. It is estimate that 80% of Scotland's peatlands are damaged. However, the Scottish Government has invested more than £30 million in Peatland ACTION and over 25,000 hectares of previously damaged peatland habitat have benefited directly from restoration activities. 

This good work is continuing thanks to the Scottish Government’s pledge in 2020 to invest more than £250 million over 10 years. This multi-annual investment will help deliver peatland restoration activities through a number of partners in public, private and third sectors, part of which is co-ordinated by NatureScot through Peatland ACTION.

We have knowledgeable and dedicated project officers who can help you with your proposed Peatland ACTION project or Feasibility Study - please email the PeatlandACTION team

PeatlandACTION also offers videos and posters that share our lessons learned from setting up and running practical peatland projects across Scotland.

We continue to offer advice on applications for the  Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECs). Peatland restoration management options available through AECS, include moorland management, lowland bog management, and management of buffer areas for fens and lowland bogs. AECS also offers capital payments for works such as ditch blocking. However, please note that the 2021 AECS round is very restricted and you can only apply for peatland management activities if they would benefit a designated site (SSSI, SAC or SPA).   

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