Controversial plans to extend the peat extraction license at Chat Moss in Salford have been criticised by the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, who are calling on people to send letters of objection to Salford City Council.
Mosslands like Chat Moss are incredibly important, because the peat stores huge amounts of carbon, helping to fight climate change, while the habitat also provides a home for a host of amazing plants and wildlife.
The Trust believes that this makes them far too important to lose for compost, with Operations Manager Mick Weston insisting: "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."
A planning application has been submitted to Salford City Council by horticultural manufacturer William Sinclair, who are asking for permission to continue extracting peat on the site for another 15 years. This will enable them to take another 2m of peat off the site.
It has always been intended that as soon as the current permission finished, in December 2010, restoration of the site to active sphagnum bog would take place, and restoration to an agreed plan is part of the current planning permission. However, the new permission, if it was granted, would push the restoration date 15 years into the future, and, needless to say, the more peat that is extracted, the more difficult it will be to restore the site at all.
Peat extraction runs counter to both local and national policies and will have a continuing devastating effect, not just on the biodiversity of the site, and neighbouring sites, but also on carbon emissions and climate change.
“Britain’s mosslands hold the carbon equivalent of 35 years of national carbon emissions” said Dr Chris Miller the Trust’s Mosslands Project Manager. “If peat is dug up the carbon in the peat is oxidised and within a relatively short time it will all be in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. This is why restoring mosslands can make such a big contribution to fighting climate change, but peat extraction is disastrous!”
That is why they are calling on people to send formal letters of objection, telling the Council that they ‘object’ to them approving the application to destroy this habitat. They will need to quote the following application reference numbers: 10/58824/FULEIA, 10/58825/FULEIA and 10/58826/FULEIA and make sure they include their name.
Objections can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to: Planning Urban Vision Partnership Ltd, Emerson House, Albert Street, Eccles, Salford, M30 0TE. For more details and some example letters, go to our Save Chat Moss page.