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Vital peatland could become UNESCO world heritage site

Straddling Caithness and Sutherland, the Flow Country could join the Grand Canyon and Great Barrier Reef as a UNESCO site.

A decision on whether the peat-rich Flow Country in northern Scotland is designated as a world heritage site is just weeks away, says UNESCO. 

Following a year of deliberation, a yes vote would give the area of peatland the same protection as the Great Barrier Reef or the Grand Canyon. The Flow Country, which straddles Caithness and Sutherland, is the largest area of blanket bog in the world, covering 4,000km2. The area is home to a remarkable range of wildlife and in places the peat is up to 10m deep. 

Last year, a partnership that included the RSPB, NatureScot and the Highland Council requested that the Flow Country was designated a world heritage site, as a place of outstanding international importance. 

A NatureScot spokesman told ST: “NatureScot supports the Flow Country’s nomination as a world heritage site and has been actively involved in the bid as a member of the Flow Country Partnership. 

“We consider the nomination of the Flow Country would bring important recognition to this vast and globally important blanket bog, recognising its value for biodiversity and climate.”