MAJOR PLANS have been unveiled for peatland restoration and woodland creation in the north-east of Scotland, with a claimed carbon sequestration capacity of 1.4m tonnes.

A partnership between Aviva Investors, Par Equity and Scottish Woodlands will work together on this natural capital project following the acquisition of 6300 hectares of moorland in the Glen Dye area of West Aberdeenshire.

Following public and statutory consultation, applications will be made to undertake peatland restoration work across 1800 hectares and new planting over 3000 hectares, including up to 1000 hectares of productive conifer and 2000 hectares of native woodland.

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The project will be designed, implemented and managed over five years by Scottish Woodlands Ltd and is expected to result in significant employment opportunities, whilst public access and facilities will be enhanced over the land.

Chief Investment Officer at Aviva Investors, Daniel McHugh, said: “This is the first of many investments we expect to make in this space, and the intention is for our carbon removal programme to be considered a best-in-class initiative which not only sequesters a vast amount of carbon over its lifetime, but does so in a way that takes into account the surrounding habitats and community. In the case of Glen Dye Moor, we will do this while maintaining and improving the network of access trails, enhancing biodiversity and restoring the degraded peatland across the land.”

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Investment Manager at Par Equity, Tom Croy, added: “We have been actively involved in forestry investment for 10 years and the acquisition of land at Glen Dye offers a tremendous opportunity to deliver an outstanding project as part of the journey to net zero. It will make a major contribution in terms of carbon capture and peatland restoration at national scale and will also provide employment while protecting and enhancing the landscape for the enjoyment of the many people who live in and visit the area."

Future timber produced at Glen Dye will be utilised in accordance with the agreement at COP26 on the use of sustainably-produced wood products. The project's potential to lock up 1.4 million tonnes of carbon begins with a target of around 468,000 tonnes of carbon by 2040, then 32,750 tonnes annually from 2040 until 2055. Annual carbon sequestration reporting will the follow Woodland Carbon Code framework and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s guidance on greenhouse gas (GHG) forestry accounting.