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Nature / Peatland restoration proposed for nature reserve

Photo: VisitScotland

THERE could be peatland restoration on the cards at one of Shetland’s national nature reserves at the very northern tip of the isles.

NatureScot is looking to appoint a consultant to undertake a peatland restoration feasibility study across much of the Hermaness site in Unst.

The contractor would assess potential peatland restoration on the large site, and use the results to produce a restoration management plan.

It is understood that around 500 hectares of peatland would be assessed.

NatureScot’s Juan Brown said the organisation will work closely with local graziers and land managers before any peatland restoration work is taken forward.

“Eroding peatland is a significant contributor to Shetland’s carbon emissions, and peatland restoration – by, for example blocking erosion gullies and re-profiling of peat haggs – is an effective way to contribute to climate change mitigation,” he added.

Hermaness is one of two NatureScot national nature reserves in Shetland – the other being the island of Noss.

It sits right at the most northerly point in the UK, overlooking the Muckle Flugga lighthouse, and is well known for its seascape views.

Brown said there is “exemplary management for nature” in national reserves like Hermaness.

The Hermaness project comes through the Peatland ACTION scheme, which aims to improve the condition of degraded peatland in Scotland.

Meanwhile Shetland Amenity Trust, which also undertakes peatland restoration, is looking to carry out work on a 40-hectare site to the north of the Nibon junction.

Around 28 hectares of land there would be restored.

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