Flow Country is expected to apply for World Heritage in early 2023

By on July 26, 2022 0

A bid to have parts of Europe’s largest bog declared a Unesco World Heritage Site is expected to be submitted early next year.

Called Flow Country, the region covers nearly half a million acres of Caithness and Sutherland.

The 419,210 acres of bogs, lochs and bog basins is twice the size of Orkney and the Flow Country Partnership is hoping to gain Unesco status for seven areas it says meet the required criteria .

It won approval from the UK government in 2020 to prepare a Unesco application and launched a consultation on the proposed boundaries.

It has also made a draft management plan available to the public for review.

Peatlands in the tundra-like landscape have developed since the end of the last ice age over 10,000 years ago. The region’s peat reaches up to 10m deep and its soil stores around 100 million tonnes of carbon, making it vital in the fight against climate change.

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Several organizations are involved in the project, including NatureScot, Forestry and Land Scotland, Scottish Forestry, Highland Council, RSPB Scotland and Plantlife International.

Thurso’s UHI Environmental Research Institute, Highland Third Sector Interface, Flow Country Rivers Trust, Northern Deer Management Group and Highlands and Islands Enterprise are also involved.

Scotland currently has six World Heritage Sites in the Forth Bridge, the Antonine Wall, New Lanark, the Neolithic Heartland of Orkney, the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh and St Kilda.

If successful, the Flow Country would be the first peatland inscribed on the World Heritage List and join other natural areas of international importance, such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

The Flow Country Partnership will ask the UK government to submit their nomination by the January 2023 deadline.

Unesco should make its decision by mid-2024.