25 August, 2022
Public Consultation for Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Set to Open
Please note: A separate statutory notice for SSSI enlargement will be sent to accompany this news release.
A public consultation on a proposed extension to the protected area within Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands begins today (25th August), NatureScot has announced.
The consultation will be open for three months, ending on the 29 November. Currently, the protected area within Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands measures 143,569 hectares (ha) with the proposed extension increasing this by 2446 ha (1.7%).
The peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland have some of the best areas of blanket bog in the world and are home to rare birds and plants. They are so valuable that they are covered by a number of different protected areas to conserve and enhance them.
Peatlands help to combat climate change by locking up carbon as peat continues to form. This can only happen in well-managed peatland, where the ground is wet and Sphagnum mosses can grow.
Some of these important peatlands were drained when conifer plantations were established in the 1970s and 1980s. Bog restoration work removed conifers from some of the highest priority peatland areas, between 1996 and 2006, largely funded by the EU’s LIFE Programme. This peatland restoration work has advanced enough that areas where restoration was started with EU LIFE funding will now be added to the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands protected area. We are doing this to fulfil a commitment made to the EU when funding was received.
Sphagnum moss is now well established in these areas and rare birds such as greenshank have already returned. With continued good management, adding this land to the existing protected area will ensure further success for this peatland restoration work.
Most of these areas are within the Forsinard Flows National Nature Reserve and are now owned by the RSPB, with smaller areas owned by the National Forest Estate and private individuals. Anyone who owns or manages land that is in the proposed addition to the protected area will receive a letter that explains how they can respond to the consultation.
More information is available at https://www.nature.scot/professional-advice/protected-areas-and-species/protected-areas/protected-area-notices
Below is the list of protected areas that NatureScot proposes to extend:
- Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
- Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Special Protection Area (SPA)
- Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Ramsar site
In addition, 10 Sites of Special Scientific Interest underpinning the above sites are proposed for extension:
- Ben Griams Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
- East Halladale SSSI
- Forsinard Bogs SSSI
- Loch Caluim Flows SSSI
- Rumsdale Peatlands SSSI
- Shielton Peatlands SSSI
- Sletill Peatlands SSSI
- Strathmore Peatlands SSSI
- West Halladale SSSI
- West Strathnaver SSSI
- NatureScot Media
- 0131 316 2655
Notes to editors
Notes to Editors
In separate consultation, the draft boundary of the proposed Flow Country World Heritage Site has been made public and can be seen through the online portal. This proposed World Heritage Site encompasses existing protected areas and the proposed extensions to the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands have also been considered. The consultation on the draft World Heritage Site boundary ended on 29 July 2022.
NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website at www.nature.scot or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nature_scot
’S e NatureScot buidheann nàdair na h-Alba. Bidh sinn a’ neartachadh àrainneachd na h-Alba agus a’ brosnachadh dhaoine gu barrachd suim a chur ann an nàdar. Tha e mar phrìomhachas againn gum bi nàdar na h-Alba beairteach agus gun dèilig sinn gu h-èifeachdach le èiginn na gnàth-shìde. Tha an tuilleadh fiosrachaidh aig www.nature.scot no air Twitter aig https://twitter.com/nature_scot