Johnnie Walker teams up with RSPB Scotland to save vital peatland

The An Lurg North peatland area is severely degraded and is among some of the highest priority areas for peatland restoration in Scotland.

Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky has joined forces with RSPB Scotland to help save a crucial area of peatland in one of Scotland’s national parks.

The plans were announced yesterday during a visit by Mairi McAllan, Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform in the Scottish Government, to RSPB Scotland’s Abernethy Nature Reserve in the Cairngorm National Park.

Despite covering only 3% of the world’s surface, peatlands store 30% of the world’s carbon, playing a vital role in the health and wellbeing of our planet. The UK has around three million hectares of peatland – the vast majority of which is located in Scotland. Healthy peatbogs, kept in good condition and retaining water, on average sequester about four times more CO2 than the equivalent area of forest.

Announcing the initiative, Ewan Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer for Johnnie Walker’s parent company Diageo, said: “We are really excited to be setting out on this journey with RSPB Scotland to help restore this crucial piece of Scotland’s natural environment.

“This project is not just about saving and preserving peatland, it is about helping tackle climate change and about making a positive impact on the biodiversity this beautiful landscape provides for wildlife. The area is also part of the water catchment for the River Spey, the greatest whisky river in the world, and preserving the peatland will enhance and protect water quality in the future.”

The vast An Lurg North peatland area, which is part of the Abernethy Reserve high in the Cairngorm plateau, is severely degraded and is among some of the highest priority areas for peatland restoration in Scotland.

Now with investment from Johnnie Walker, vital work will be carried out to continue the restoration and conservation of the peatland for future generations of wildlife and the local community.

The An Lurg area had already undergone a series of preparatory works supported by Peatland ACTION, a NatureScot partnership initiative funded by the Scottish Government, and is part of a priority habitat within the Cairngorms Connect project.

Uwe Stoneman, Senior Site Manager at RSPB Scotland Abernethy, said: “It’s fantastic to have this support from Johnnie Walker to continue the vital restoration work on the An Lurg peatland. Healthy peatlands are vital in tackling the nature and climate emergency. The benefits of the work being done at An Lurg help not only the species that rely on this habitat but also filter through a far wider area of the Cairngorms landscape.”

The support from Johnnie Walker will focus on restoration work on 88 hectares, which will result in a total area of 160 hectares of the Cairngorm plateau being conserved – the equivalent of around 224 football pitches.

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