IT is the equivalent of the size of North Lanarkshire and at 50,000 acres Greater Glasgow’s peatland could play a part in tackling climate change.

And it is hoped that a Clyde peatlands restoration project will be approved along with the creation of two dedicated roles to look at ways of driving forward restoration across the region.

The roles and the future project launch are expected to be approved at a meeting of Glasgow City Region on Thursday, which involves eight West of Scotland local authority areas.

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With around 20% of Scotland is covered in peatland, healthy peatlands capture and store vast amounts of carbon and should play a critical part of the drive for Net Zero.

Earlier this year environmental targets lasting until 2026 were set out by government agency NatureScot, which has said that “nature is in crisis”.

HeraldScotland: Two dedicated peatland officer roles will be createdTwo dedicated peatland officer roles will be created

As well as bringing areas of land and sea under protection, there are also plans to cull deer herds and restore a quarter of a million hectares of peat bog land.

Restoring valuable peat bogs will help bolster biodiversity and also fight climate change as Scotland moves towards net zero carbon emissions.

In a report due to go before City Region cabinet members, it highlights that degraded or dried out peat emits carbon rather than storing it and currently around 80% of Scotland’s peatlands are degraded through drainage, extraction and urban expansion.

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In the report Gerry Cornes, chief executive of East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “Scotland’s peatlands emit roughly the same amount of carbon each year as all of Scotland’s homes. Addressing this degradation has a major role to play not only in the drive for Net Zero, but in restoring a unique habitat that is home to an array of plants and animals.

“In healthy condition, peatlands provide a range of nature-based solutions to the twin and linked challenges of a changing climate and ecological collapse.”

The report highlighted how reversing carbon emissions from dried out peat to the capture and locking in of large amounts of carbon for very long timescales will help the region meet its Net Zero ambitions.

Peatlands absorb water from the heavy rainfall events we increasingly experience and slowly release it back into rivers networks, helping to address downstream flooding.

Mr Corned added: “Peatlands are a UK and Scottish priority habitat and restoration will help address the ecological collapse of the species that depend on it.”

The report added NatureScot’s Peatland Action Fund has £250 million up to 2030 to support peatland restoration and is 100% funding the creation of two new officer posts in Glasgow City Region. The fund will also provide up to 100% funding for projects brought forward by the officers. This is a major opportunity to bring new resources to the region.

 

The officers will speak to public and private sector landowners to identify opportunities, support them through feasibility work and funding applications and project manage on the ground works. One of the officers will have a community engagement role to raise awareness of the value of peatlands, and to provide volunteering opportunities. The posts will be hosted on behalf of City Region partners by South Lanarkshire Council, initially for a period of two years.

The new Peatland Officers will be jointly managed by South Lanarkshire Council and the Green Network, with support from NatureScot. The Green Network team is proactively engaging with partners in advance of the officers being in post to identify a first suite of projects. This will ensure best use is made of the officers’ time in project development through to delivery. The Green Network would welcome discussions on potential peatland restoration projects with local authority partners.

The Clyde Peatlands project has been developed for Glasgow City Region by the GCV Green Network and supported by NatureScot’s Peatland Action Fund.

The Glasgow City Region covers Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire.