Land drainage is essential to maintaining the productivity of Scottish agriculture. It also has significant potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Wet soils can produce large quantities of Nitrous Oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas. Much of these emissions may be avoided through adequate agricultural drainage.

The Scottish Government has historically provided funding for the drainage of wet agricultural land. However, there is evidence that the condition of Scotland’s drainage infrastructure has deteriorated in the past 50 years, with little investment currently taking place. 

As such, improving agricultural drainage infrastructure could represent a cost effective greenhouse gas mitigation measure.

Through a review of existing data, this report identifies:

• the current state of Scotland’s agricultural drainage infrastructure; 
• the potential magnitude of greenhouse gas abatement from installing or improving drainage; and
• the impacts that such activity may have on other climate change mitigation policies.