More than 10,000 hectares of damaged peatland has been restored in Scotland over the last year, reducing harmful emissions and accelerating progress to net zero.

Ahead of World Peatlands Day on 2 June, the average rate of peatland restoration has more than doubled in the last two years and, thanks to more than 100 projects across the country, 2023-24 saw 10,360 hectares restored – the highest amount achieved in a single 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.

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.”