The Government has refused an appeal which would have allowed peat extraction to continue on Chat Moss for another 15 years.
And the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire Manchester and North Merseyside welcomed the announcement by Eric
Pickles (Secretary of State for communities and Local Government) that he had refused to allow William Sinclair Horticulture Ltd to extract any more peat from Chat Moss, to the west of Manchester.
Both Salford and Wigan Councils had refused planning permission in the summer of 2011, but Sinclairs appealed against the refusal and a Public Inquiry was held in March 2012.
Anne Selby, the Chief Executive of the Trust, said “The Secretary of State has today made absolutely the right decision and we congratulate him. This government is now leading the way in Europe against the environmentally damaging and unnecessary practice of peat extraction.
“This historic decision will be a major step towards meeting the Government’s targets to reduce peat usage in the amateur sector to zero by 2020, and will pave the way for similar decisions across Europe in the coming months and years.
“Rather than importing peat from Scotland, Ireland or further afield, we urge Sinclairs to develop their excellent brands of peat free composts, which have already been shown in independent tests to perform better than peat itself.“We now look to William Sinclair to honour the planning conditions contained in local Section 106 Agreements. Their responsibility is to agree suitable restoration plans with Salford and Wigan Councils. The overwhelming view is that the plans should restore the site to lowland raised bog .
“The Wildlife Trusts will continue to campaign against this damaging practice across the country. Where we can get the resources to do so - as at the neighbouring Little Woolden Moss site - we will buy up peat extraction sites and restore them.”
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