A THREE-year project to restore an area of peatland larger than 780 football pitches has been given funding by Peatland ACTION.
The Duchal Moor scheme involves an area of 788 hectares of drained peatland south of Loch Thom, and is being carried out in a bid to cut carbon emissions.
Inverclyde Council has been awarded £768,705 from NatureScot’s Peatland ACTION partnership to carry out the work, which is due to begin on site in January 2024.
The project has been supported by the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network’s Clyde Peatlands initiative, which aims to increase the rate and scale of peatland restoration across the whole City Region.
Inverclyde Council is one of the first local authorities in Scotland to carry out peatland restoration on this scale.
Convener of environment and regeneration, Councillor Michael McCormick, said: “We have set out our ambitious plans to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, in line with Scottish Government targets, and this project will go a long way towards us achieving that.
“Direct council emissions have fallen from 19,104 tonnes in 2012/13 to 11,561 tonnes in 2019/20 so we are doing well, but we can and must do more.
“Much of the upland countryside area of Inverclyde is peatland and restoring it can work wonders for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“We’re in a climate emergency and we must do all we can individually, and collectively, to reduce carbon emissions and support initiatives that will help improve the environment.
“This peatland restoration project is one of the largest undertaken by a local authority in Scotland and I am proud that Inverclyde is leading the way.”
Much of the peatland in Inverclyde had drainage ditches cut into it around 60 years ago to create moorland hunting estates.
It is more widely understood now that a restored peatland can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, slow down water flow, prevent flooding and provide habitats for a range of wildlife, which improves biodiversity.
Much of Scotland’s peatland is in poor condition and requires suitable management or restoration.
Peatland ACTION is a NatureScot partnership involving Scottish Water, Forestry and Land Scotland, and the national parks. As well as providing funding, the partnership supports applications throughout the process, manages contracts and helps to design restoration projects.
The development and delivery of the Duchal Moor project is being supported by Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership’s peatland officer, who is also funded by Peatland ACTION.
Francesca Osowska, NatureScot chief executive, 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.
“Since 2012, NatureScot’s Peatland ACTION initiative has put over 43,000 hectares of peatland on the road to recovery.
“We are delighted that so many land owners, managers and communities have already seen the value of peatland restoration, and taken advantage of the opportunities Peatland ACTION funding offers to deliver positive change for their land.
“We hope that this will inspire many more to do the same.”