10 things you may not know about peat
8th March 2014
Around 60 delegates from across the UK gathered in Thurso this week for the “Research on Peatlands – Looking Forward” conference hosted by the Environmental Research Institute.
The welcome address was given by Rob Gibson MSP, who highlighted opportunities for the Peatlands from a new £15M Scottish Government fund.
As part of BBC’s online coverage of the event there is a feature entitled 10 things you may not know about peat
In September the Scottish Government announced a new £15 million fund.
The restoration of Scotland’s peatlands will be supported by £15 million worth of new funding from the Scottish Government.
The money will be distributed over the next two financial years and will go towards restoring one of Scotland’s most important habitats.
Scotland’s peatlands are of international importance for their biodiversity with many bogs and fens protected by international law.
The country’s blanket bogs are one of the world’s rarest habitats and a vital and unique breeding ground for birds. In addition, intact peatlands provide many other benefits, such as good water quality, carbon storage, a recreational resource and support diverse economic activities.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said:“Our peatlands cover almost a fifth of Scotland and are key habitats for much of our wildlife. We also know that peatlands play a role in carbon capture helping reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and they can fulfil an important part in natural flood management as a means of slowing the flow of water downstream within a river catchment.
“If we continue to improve the condition of our peatlands and bogs, then our habitats will undoubtedly experience the benefit, as will our economy.
“This money will go towards vital work to preserve and safeguard Scotland's peatlands. There’s already a lot of good work going on to restore them and it is important that we continue this trend.
“The importance of restoring peat-forming habitats which have been drained or damaged cannot be underestimated and the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring Scotland’s peatlands are returned to good condition.”
Scottish Natural Heritage’s Policy and Advice manager Andrew Coupar said:“This new funding is extremely welcome and will build on the success of funds already made available under the Scottish Government’s Green Stimulus package. A wide range of projects have already been supported across Scotland, ranging from improved access to community peatlands, to drain blocking, scrub removal and erosion control.
“This commitment, which demonstrates early action to convert a RPP2 proposal into a policy, will also help implement aspects of the developing Peatland Plan for Scotland, which aims to improve the integration and delivery of peatland policy, research and management to ensure we maximise the benefits from this fantastic resource.”
Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, said: “Restoring Scotland’s wonderful peatland resources helps reduce harmful climate changing emissions and secures the conservation of some scarce and very special species of wildlife.
“The value of peatlands has been overlooked in the past, and we are pleased the Scottish Government is now taking a lead to ensure past mismanagement can be addressed and we can give blanket peatlands, such as those in the Flow Country, a bright, sustainable future.”
More on the Green Stimulus Peatland Restoration Project: Green Stimulus Peatland Restoration Project
Frozen Ponds in Peatlands, Caithness by Ken Crossan