ENVIRONMENT experts are set to embark on a major peatland restoration project in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Inverclyde.

More than £780,000 has been set aside by the council for work on Dowries and Hardridge farms – two land holdings in Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.

According to a report to a recent meeting of the local authority's environment and regeneration committee, healthy peatland can 'lock up' significant amounts of carbon for a long period of time.

However, around 80 per cent of it in Scotland is degraded through drainage and other detrimental land management – meaning it often emits carbon rather than store it.

Feasibility studies funded by national agency NatureScot were carried out for both sites last year and identified areas which would benefit from restoration and consequently contribute to net zero ambitions.

While the work could be grant funded, the report said the initial outlay is expected to come from the landowner before being reimbursed through the Peatland Action Fund.

The committee agreed to approve the allocation of around £787,000 for the projects, with Dowries set to cost £103,960 and Hardridge £682,854.

The report explained: “Offsetting is an action intended to compensate for the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and within a net zero context, the relevant offset projects are those which actually remove greenhouse gases including carbon from the atmosphere and prevent their re‐emission into the atmosphere.

“Woodlands, peatlands and saltmarsh in particular store vast quantities of carbon, preventing its release into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide provided these natural habitats remain in good condition.”