RESTORING part of Inverclyde's peatland could help stop flooding in the area in the decades to come, according to environmental experts.

The team at Yearn Stane - a project which aims to restore a functioning environment within the landscapes and communities of west central Scotland - say that rewilding Duchal Moor could 'significantly' reduce flooding, and the costs brought by it.

They have opened talks with council bosses about taking the idea forward.

Joseph Greenlees from Yearn Stane says that of the 8,000 hectares available for transformation in Inverclyde, around 5,000 hectares could be restored.

With SEPA figures showing that the cost of local flood damage is £73 million every 10 years, Joseph believes developing Duchal Moor could stop the water flowing down and causing chaos.

He says that by planting trees, restoring peatland or adapting soil management plans, landowners could also help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.

According to Mr Greenlees, this could free up 'carbon credits' worth up to £5 million for the community.

He’s now keen to work with local organisations to put a plan in place to develop the land.

Joseph told the Telegraph: "The peatland on Duchal Moor has been drained for years for grouse management, and this is contributing to flooding.

"If we restore that peatland, there’s potential to significantly reduce the cost of the flood damage.

"The draining of peatland has led to the extinction of species - the moor was once one of the most productive grouse moors in the country.

"Black grouse have become extinct in Clyde Muirshiel Park in recent times along with mountain hare, adder, red squirrel, and water vole, and hen harrier have not bred successfully for a number of years now.

"Replanting the area and letting it rewild itself will help to hold the water.

"This is the only core wild area in central Scotland and it is a vast, diverse landscape.

Joseph is keen for people to get involved in Yearn Stane – which means eagle’s rock – and to find out more about the vast areas of countryside around them.

He added: “We want to reconnect people with the landscape and bring life back into it.”

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan met with Joseph to discuss the potential for rewilding the landscape.

Mr Cowan said: "How long can we afford to keep on paying for the flood damage in Inverclyde?

"It doesn’t make sense for it to keep happening.

"This area of land is a massive asset for Inverclyde.

"My interest in the project started from finding out more about how to control the flooding problem in the area.

"We need to trap the water in the hills and restore the peatland.

"This will let the area rewild itself with trees, birds, insects and wildlife.

"I’m very interested in developing something here."

An Inverclyde Council spokesperson said: "We’ve held initial discussions with Yearn Stane to find out more about the project."