Our local area is incredible: the Flows’ blanket bog stores 400 million tonnes of carbon, but this remarkable ability to store carbon is only possible if the bogs are kept in healthy condition.
The carbon and wider biodiversity potential of the Flows is valuable – and interest in investing in environmentally friendly projects (‘green finance’) and carbon/biodiversity credits is growing.
But so is the anxiety about future land management and external influences on local livelihoods.
In response to the growth in local and external interest in peatland restoration, biodiversity, and carbon credits, a group of local organisations has come together to think through how to put together a Green Finance Initiative (GFI) for the Flow Country.
The Flow Country GFI aims to address these concerns and to work out a model of financial return from our peatlands that would offer clear pathways to benefit local communities, as well as enable us to tackle the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.
For example, by working together to develop a cohesive community approach to peatland restoration projects, we think we can:
· get a higher price for carbon credits
· develop clear ethical finance rules
· reduce the admin burden for projects
· promote skills development and local jobs
· and ensure a percentage of the profits goes back to locally beneficial projects.
The GFI brings together representatives from the North Highland Initiative, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Highland Council, RSPB Scotland, University of Highlands and Islands, NatureScot, Caithness Voluntary Group, VisitScotland and the Landscape Finance Lab to brainstorm ideas.
We are hosting a series of drop-in sessions and invite you to join us to discuss green finance and peatland restoration.
Where and when?
- Lairg Community Centre: Monday, February 27th, 4-7pm
- Thurso Library: Tuesday, February 28th, 4-7pm
- Strathy Village Hall: Wednesday, March 1st , 4-7pm
- Wick Pulteney Centre: Thursday, March 2nd, 4-7pm
Open door policy. Come and join us for a cup of tea and a biscuit, and feel free to ask away.
We will also be holding an online drop in session on 7th March between 2-4pm. Register at https://form.typeform.com/to/C9qdj6po for a half hour slot to come and chat, or use this QR code to take you to the registration form.
We really are at the early idea stage, so please do ask questions, raise concerns, and let us know what your vision for the future of the Flows looks like.