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SALFORD ILLEGAL PEAT MINING ON CHAT MOSS
 

Star date: 12th May 2011

PEEL HOLDINGS ALLOWS ILLEGAL PEAT MINING IN SALFORD'S RAINFOREST

Peel Holdings, owners of MediaCityUK and builder of the new Blue Peter eco garden for Children's BBC, has been allowing illegal peat mining on its land on the Chat Moss green belt, known by many as Salford's Rainforest.

William Sinclair, the company that has been bleeding the precious land to death for a number of years, has applied to Salford Council for planning permission to continue extracting peat. The application goes before Salford Council soon but the company has continued to mine the peat illegally in the meantime, while land owner Peel Holdings has done nothing to stop it.

Full details here…


Peat Mining in Salford Peat Mining in Salford Peat Mining in Salford
Peat Mining in Salford Peat Mining in Salford
click image to enlarge

Over the past year at Chat Moss peat extraction site there's been protests by MPs and councillors, Earth First protesters chaining themselves to diggers and organised walks across the Moss by Salford Friends of the Earth so that people can see at first hand the eco vandalism being carried out by peat miners William Sinclair on land owned by Peel Holdings.

Everyone who has witnessed the precious wet bog land being bled to death has been absolutely horrified.

Mick Weston, operations manager at The Wildlife Trust told Salford Star: "In terms of global importance, these habitats are our rainforest, and 99% of them have been destroyed in our area in the last 100 years. We are determined to save the rest before it is too late."

Salford MP Barbara Keeley told us "It's important for as many people as possible to understand the issues that are going on here...it's absolutely desolate…"

Chat Moss contains rare precious raised bog, protected in law from a directive passed down from the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. In terms of bio diversity these bogs are premier league. They are formed through the ages from waterlogged mosses which expand like a wet sponge and rise above ground level. On the surface grow special plants and bugs which attract rare birds and butterflies. Underneath are deep layers of peat, rich in nutrients, which makes the soil perfect for the grow bags you get in garden centres.

To get the peat, the bog is stripped and the water drained. And once the peat is extracted, the clay, sand and gravel below it is mined, leaving a land full of nothing.

For decades, land owner Peel Holdings has allowed the land to be murdered, while Salford Council has obligingly rolled over and, either turned a blind eye to illegal peat extraction or given planning permission for it to happen, citing all sorts of warped logic (see here for full details: Peel Holdings and the Plight of the Salford Butterfly).

Last December, William Sinclair's planning permission to mine peat on the Moss ran out and in the next few weeks it's going back to Salford and Wigan councils seeking permission to bleed and pillage the land for another 15 years.

In the meantime, on Good Friday, the company began extracting peat again, totally illegally.

"William Sinclair's have no right to extract peat on Chat Moss without planning permission" said Lancashire Wildlife Trust's Chief Executive Anne Selby "We utterly condemn this illegal activity and blatant disregard for due process shown. We call on Salford and Wigan councils to step in and take appropriate enforcement action."

Under pressure from environmental campaigners, who have already lodged over a thousand objections to the mining plans, Salford Council, for once has now stepped in and stopped the current illegal peat extraction…

"After seeking legal advice, the council has served a temporary stop notice on the developer to prevent any further peat extraction pending the outcome of the panel's decision" says Councillor Derek Antrobus, Salford City Council's lead member for planning "We have received a request from the developers to extend their licence to extract peat from Chat Moss. This request will be referred to the planning panel later in May and any decision will be made in line with planning legislation."

Environmental campaigners are now hoping that Salford Council does the right thing and puts a stop to the murder of what's left of its precious boglands.

"Peat extraction is enormously damaging to the environment, and has had its day" says Anne Selby "The government has just completed a consultation on its proposals to phase out the use of peat in the amateur horticultural sector by 2020. 

"The government was looking for voluntary action and responsible behaviour from the peat producers" she adds "In view of Sinclair's total disregard of this, we wonder if voluntary action will be enough and ask the government to consider stronger measures." 

For more details of Lancashire Wildlife Trust's Save Chat Moss Campaign click here.

For the whole Salford Star history of peat mining on Chat Moss:

See Peel Holdings and the Plight of the Salford Butterfly: click here 

See Salford Moon Walk: click here

See the Blue Peter Garden and MediaCityUK: click here

See Earth First's Protest details: click here and click here and click here

See Save Salford's Rainforest: click here

The William Sinclair application for planning permission to continue peat extraction on Chat Moss should be going to Salford Council's planning committee in the next few weeks  - keep clicking here and maybe some details will appear at some point)

 

 

Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 12:55:48 on 13 May 2011
It would take 2 or 3 elections to get the current administration to listen on that score mike. Bottom Line - Peel are breaking the Law! If you or I were doing this, we'd be hauled in front of the judge and given a right dressing down. Funny how a Multi-Million pound company can break the rules then scream innocence the next...and what will the council do?..Absolutely NOTHING!
 
Mike Skeff wrote
at 11:38:39 on 13 May 2011
Don't pin your hopes on Salford council doing the right thing and rejecting the application. Peel will have the final say and the council will say they acted within the current legislation. Well they did get re-elected so it will be the status quo for the time being at least.
 
D Boyes wrote
at 06:10:09 on 13 May 2011
Another done deal , in secret behind closed doors .Will the council cretins EVER make a decision which benefits the exploited and disregarded people of Salford ? After all , we are the ones who fund their excesses .
 
Brian Francis Kirkham wrote
at 12:11:58 on 12 May 2011
I've no doubt the link between peel and salford has led to this, but looking at the article again. It quotes Cllr Antrobus as saying they're looking at the application again - what is to look at? Development's like this should be balanced. To Peel I say this, You want more Peat from Chat Moss? Repair and Replace the damage created by your company first before applying. To the Council, Something to think about. You Don't have to approve EVERY application that Peel Makes despite it being a Multi-Millionaire company. Would the westminsters approve of me digging up their land in cheshire in the pursuit of extra salt for the Nations Chips? I don't think so!!!
 
Jim Devine wrote
at 10:14:50 on 12 May 2011
Dont Salford Council have a close working relationship with Peel. Is there not a question of impartiality here ?.
 
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