Introduce peatland restoration obligations on land owners
Make peatland restoration a requirement on land managers receiving public money.
The Scottish Government and Scottish Land Commission have developed the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement and protocols relating to good land management,249 so the expectation that land will be managed sustainably is increasing, but these mechanisms do not have real teeth as yet.
One way of making that expectation more real would be to require land managers in receipt of public money to ensure that they are managing their land sustainably. Given that peatlands cover about 20% of the land and that the vast majority of that is degraded in some way, managing the land of Scotland sustainably must involve changing the management of peatlands and restoring them. If someone is in receipt of public money and has areas of peat, they should be required to be managing that peat sympathetically.
For further information:
- Transformational peatland strategy needed to tackle Scotland’s nature and climate crisis, RSPB Scotland, 2020, https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/transformational-peatland-strategy-needed-to-tackle-scotlands-nature-and-climate-crisis/
- See also the ‘Carbon Emissions Land Tax’ policy in this chapter.
Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement 2022, Scottish Government, https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-land-rightsresponsibilities-statement-2022/pages/2/