PROJECTS to restore Scotland’s peatlands will get a share of £22 million this year to significantly reduce carbon emissions and support biodiversity as part of the Government’s climate change plan.

Degraded peatlands emit more carbon than they remove, becoming a net source of greenhouse gases. Restoring peatlands will help remove and store carbon from the atmosphere, support habitats and species, improve water quality and manage flood risk.

Last year the Scottish Government announced a £250m 10-year funding package to support peatland restoration, with a target of restoring 250,000 hectares of degraded peatland by 2030. In 2021-22, five partners including NatureScot and Scottish Water will get a share of £22m to deliver a range of new and existing restoration projects across Scotland.

Environment Minister Mairi McAllan visited a Forestry and Land Scotland site at Coalburn Moss, near Lesmahagow, to witness first-hand the benefits of peatland restoration.

She said: “Peatlands are an integral part of Scotland’s cultural and natural heritage, and cover more than 20% of our country. When in good condition, they offer multiple benefits to our environment and communities. Restoring Scotland’s peatlands can help us fight climate change, support biodiversity and provide good, green jobs – often in rural communities.

“That’s why restoring and protecting this precious natural resource is a key part of our response to the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Scotland is centre stage this year with COP26 in Glasgow and our significant investment in peatland restoration is just one of the ways we are demonstrating our world-leading climate action.”

NatureScot chief executive Francesca Osowska said: “Restoring our peatlands offers a clear nature-based solution to the climate crisis by locking in carbon, enhancing biodiversity, improving water quality and mitigating flood risk.

“This significant new funding comes in a year when Scotland has a huge opportunity to address the many challenges and pressures that nature is facing as we look towards both COP15 in Kunming, China, and COP26 ... in Glasgow.”