Following consultation held in 2020 the third edition of the Peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland Management Strategy (2021-2030) has now been released. This update reflects our increasing understanding of the peatlands and their role in carbon storage, sequestration, climate change and more widely in the ecosystem services that they provide. In the 16 years since the release of the first edition huge strides have been made in the restoration of blanket bog, and engagement with local people and partners to work together to safeguard the future of this incredibly special landscape. More recently the policy backdrop has shifted significantly with the Scottish Government’s declaration of a Climate Emergency, the Biodiversity Crisis, and ‘green recovery’ opportunities emerging from the global Covid-19 pandemic, which have led to huge changes in the levels of funding available for peatland work. Also included within the new strategy is the aspiration to secure inscription of the Flow Country as UNESCOs first peatland World Heritage Site.
As with the original Strategy, this update aims to embed the relationship between people and peatlands at the heart of its approach, and as such one of the first developments will be to broaden the membership of the Peatland Partnership to include further representatives from local community, business and land management interests.