2017: Scottish government to protect peatlands.
An £8 million investment will restore peatlands and help reduce carbon emissions, Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has revealed as she opened the funding for applications today.
Communities and land managers can apply for the Peatlands Action Fund which will help the Scottish Government deliver on its proposals to restore 250,000 hectares of peatlands by 2032.
Around 1.7 million hectares of Scotland is covered in peatlands and keeping them well-maintained mitigates against climate change by locking in carbon.
If left in a degraded condition they produce greenhouse gas emissions rather than act as a sink for soaking up carbon.
Andrew McBride, SNH Peatland Action Manager said: “This is wonderful news for our peatlands and our wildlife, as well as for tourism and rural jobs.
The extra investment will almost double the amount of peatlands we can restore, and also get more people aware and involved in taking care of this valuable natural resource.
Peatland Action is one of our key projects in the delivery of the 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity Peatland Action has worked closely with a wide range of land managers and communities.
From this working relationship, we’ve seen the importance of healthy peatlands, not only to wildlife but also to many industries, including tourism, fisheries and the water industry.
We look forward to continuing work with existing partners, and also meeting new faces interested in restoring our degraded peatlands.”
Lorna Slater, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity announces no support for fossil extraction
On the adoption of the policy position, she said: ”Right now, the UK Government is considering opening a major new coal mine in Cumbria. They have even issued a coal licence in South Scotland.
Make no mistake, this is Westminster climate denial. It would be the final nail in the coffin for the UK’s international reputation. It must be stopped.
She also challenged the UK Government to follow Scotland’s lead and rule out approval for any coal operations in England too. Adding: “Scotland – the country that helped bring the coal-fired industrial revolution to the world has drawn a line. The coal era is over. And I’m calling on the UK Government to follow us. To make the right call for once. To ban coal extraction for good.”
Further explaining the reasoning behind the position she said: “A transition is not just moving towards something, it’s also about moving away from something.
We have to leave fossil fuels in the ground. Fossil fuels in Scotland and the North Sea are no exception. That’s why the Scottish Government opposed Cambo. That’s why we will fight the UK Government’s reckless pursuit to extract every last drop of oil and gas. That is why Scotland stands strong against fracking.”
Powers over coal exploitation are reserved to the UK Government and the Coal Authority is responsible for licensing coal mining activity in Scotland. However, planning policy and determinations are devolved to the Scottish Government.
Midlothian Council approves extraction of millions of tonnes of peat from Auchencorth and Whim Moss
The Scottish Wildlife Trust and many climate change activists are greatly saddened that the extraction of thousands of tonnes of peat has been given the go-ahead at Auchencorth and Whim Moss, near Penicuik, over the next twenty years.
The peatlands are important carbon stores and wildlife habitats and also play an important part in reducing flood risk.
The decision is incredulous given the fossil free policies recently published by the SNP/Green government and a recent statement by Lorna Slater (Green Party leader and government minister confirming a hard-line no support approach for fossil extraction. And she is the constituency MSP.