A NEW project to restore areas of peatland has been launched in a bid to tackle climate change.

Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire are among eight council areas that will benefit from the Clyde Peatlands project.

Large-scale peatland restoration will take place to lock up carbon and reduce the anticipated impacts of climate change, such as flooding, by storing it for longer and slowly releasing water after heavy rainfall.

Peatland is also home to unique plants and animals, with restoration helping to address a dramatic decline in wildlife.

Much of the local area’s peatland is now “degraded” through drainage, tree planting and extraction for fuel and currently emits carbon, rather than storing it.

Two specialist officers will be recruited to drive efforts to restore the dried-out peatland.

They will target public and private landowners in priority locations and support them in planning, designing and funding potential restoration work.

Cash for the Clyde Peatlands project is being provided by the Scottish Government, with national agency NatureScot helping to deliver restoration work across the eight Glasgow City Region council areas, which also include Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire.

Stephen Varwell, of NatureScot, said: “Healthy bogs are a hugely important carbon store.

“The Clyde Peatlands area has a large number of peatlands, many of which are degraded, but this project has the potential to restore them to their near-natural hydrological condition.

“This involves removing trees and blocking drains with peat dams, helping to lock up significant amounts of carbon, to benefit nature and people and contribute to a future of net-zero carbon emissions for Scotland.”