10,360ha of damaged peatland has been restored in Scotland over the last year, with the aiming of reducing harmful emissions and accelerating progress to net zero.

The Scottish government released the figures on World Peatlands Day on June 2, stating that the average rate of peatland restoration has more than doubled in the last two years.

The government said this is thanks to more than 100 projects across the country in the past year.

Peatlands cover nearly two million hectares of Scotland – with nearly three-quarters of these degraded – and account for two-thirds of the UK’s peatland.

The Scottish government has pledged £250 million to restore damaged peatlands, which release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, accounting for around 15% of Scotland’s emissions.

READ MORE | Protecting Scotland’s peatlands will be key part of future policy

Peatland restoration

Agriculture minister Jim Fairlie said: “Restoring degraded peatland is one of the most cost-effective ways we can reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change.

“There are many benefits, such as reducing flooding risks, improving water quality and improving local biodiversity.

“Increasing private investment in peatland restoration and maximising the community benefits from these projects is crucial.

“By increasing the pace and scale of peatland restoration we can restore our natural environment and tackle climate change more effectively and I am very pleased to mark this achievement ahead of World Peatlands Day.”

Fairlie thanked everyone across the Peatland ACTION partnership for their work and commitment this year on achieving this milestone.

NatureScot chair, Prof Colin Galbraith, said: “As key partners in the Scottish government’s Peatland ACTION partnership, NatureScot is accelerating the vital work needed to reach the ambitious target of 250,000ha of peatland being restored by 2030.

“Putting Scotland’s degraded peatlands on the road to recovery makes a vitally important contribution to reducing greenhouse gas as well as providing broader benefits for biodiversity and water management.

“Collectively, these reduce flood and fire risk and increase community resilience to the climate emergency.”