The Lancashire Wildlife Trust has expressed its anger and disgust at the unauthorised action by William Sinclair’s, who restarted peat extraction on Chat Moss on Good Friday, without planning permission.
The Trust has called on both Salford City Council and Wigan Council to take enforcement action against the company.
Chief Executive Anne Selby said: “William Sinclair’s have no right to extract peat on Chat Moss without planning permission. 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.”
In May 2010 William Sinclair’s applied for planning permission to allow them to continue to extract peat, to use in horticultural compost, for another 15 years after December 2010, which was when their permission expired.
The Environmental Statement which accompanied their application was considered deficient in several respects, and after some delay the company resubmitted its revised statement in December 2010.
There was a period of consultation in January 2011 and the application is currently under consideration by both Salford and Wigan Councils. Around 1,000 objections to the proposals have been submitted by concerned individuals and organisations highlighting the loss of biodiversity and the release of huge amounts of Co2 into the atmosphere.
“Peat extraction is enormously damaging to the environment, and has had its day,” said 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. 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.”