With much speculation about climate change and carbon emissions, environmentalists in East Ayrshire are excited about a new and important discovery in the heart of the countryside near the former mining community of Ochiltree.
Barlosh Moss, may look like an ordinary boggy bit of ground, but a new survey, commissioned by the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership (CCLP) and carried out by Whytock Ecology with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and support from Scottish Natural Heritage, has revealed that the peat moss there is 12.22m deep – making it the deepest recorded peat bog in Scotland!
To understand why this is important, Councillor Jim Roberts, East Ayrshire Member for Economy and Infrastructure explained: “peatland is an important factor in carbon emissions and global warming. Drained peatlands release a lot of harmful carbon back into the earth’s atmosphere, and worldwide it is estimated that degraded peatlands contribute 5.6% of manmade CO2 emissions, increasing the likelihood of flooding and contaminating rivers. On the other hand, healthy peat bog, such as Barlosh, act as a sponge, retaining carbon, capturing rainwater and slowly releasing it as filtered water into streams and rivers at a manageable rate.
“This means that Barlosh is a particularly important site environmentally as Scotland moves to cut carbon emissions and preserve our precious habitat.
“The survey was carried out as part of the work of the CCLP to help work out how we can preserve and restore peatland in East Ayrshire, particularly in the former mining sites. Long term the findings and resulting work will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve local water quality and protect important habitat for insects, animals and plants. Ultimately of course, it is people who will benefit from this too!”
“Anyone who is interested can find out more about what the CCLP is doing, how to volunteer and get involved by visiting their brand new dedicated website www.coalfieldcommunities.co.uk .