Lottery Funding for Caithness Environmental Project

Funding of over £4 million has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support a hugely significant environmental project in Caithness and Sutherland.

The Flow to the Future project is also to receive funding from a number of additional sources, bringing the total amount of investment to an estimated £9.6million. Such significant investment is expected to benefit many local businesses in the Caithness and Sutherland area.

The project, which is coordinated by the Peatland Partnership, aims to protect and restore around seven square miles of blanket bog in the area. It seeks to repair the damage caused to this ancient environment by years of forestry activity, and encourage the return of rare plants and animals that naturally live in the blanket bog.

Caithness and Sutherland’s blanket bogs lie in an area known as the Flow Country, and as well as providing a vital wildlife habitat, they are environmentally important because of their carbon storing abilities. An estimated 400 million tonnes of carbon are locked into the bog’s peat, which is apparently more than twice the amount stored in all the forests in the UK.

The project is expected to run for five years, and will involve experts from a variety of conservation bodies, including RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.

“It is great that the HLF share our vision of what can be achieved in this magnificent living landscape, which is as important to our future as it is to our heritage,” commented John Henderson, Chairman of the Peatland Partnership. “Using local contractors and bringing jobs to the area, we now have the ability to restore seven square miles of peatland, protecting this valuable carbon sink and reducing the devastating impacts of climate change. It will also enhance its value as a refuge for all the special birds, animals, plants and insects to which it is a home.”

“This project commands widespread support across the North Highlands, and we believe it will bring multiple benefits to this economically fragile area, and we now look forward to delivering it for the people of Caithness and Sutherland,” he added.

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