George Osborne questions whether peat extraction is best use of historic site

Our MP George Osborne is questioning whether peat extraction should continue at an historic site in Wilmslow.

Saltersley Common Preservation Society contacted the Tatton MP again last month asking for his assistance to stop the peat extraction at Lindow Moss, which experts say has caused subsidence to Newgate Kennels and a number of neighbouring houses as well as diminishing the population of water voles, which are the most endangered mammal species in the UK with nearly 90% having disappeared in the last seven years.

George Osborne confirmed that he has raised the matter with Cheshire East Council and is awaiting a response.

He told "Lindow Moss is an incredible piece of our natural ancient landscape, and while I completely respect that the Council has to abide by the rules, we should consider whether extracting peat is really the best use we can make of this beautiful and historic site."

Planning permission for peat extraction on Lindow Moss was granted by five separate permissions between 1959 and 1967, these expire in February 2042.

Croghan Peat Industries Ltd of Meare in Somerset purchased Lindow Moss in 1997-8 and in December 2014 they submitted two planning applications, to build 14 detached houses on part of Lindow Moss and restore the 28 hectare peat extraction site to a natural wetland habitat.

The owners are proposing to cease peat extraction if planning permission for the houses is granted however the two applications, which were expected to be decided in March and April 2015, are both are yet to be determined. At the time of publication we are awaiting confirmation from Cheshire East Council as to why a decision about these planning applications has been delayed for 18 months.

Photo: Ecological consultant Derek Gow during his recent survey of Lindow Moss, after which he told the "peat extraction is simply devastating".

Lindow Moss, Saltersley Common Preservation Society


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Anthony Evans
Thursday 8th September 2016 at 6:34 pm
What a pity Mr. Osborne didn't ask this question when we met in 2002, before the bulk of the damage to the land and buildings reached its current state.
We wouldn't have had to seek opinion of ecological consultants, go to the LGO (who found the council guilty of maladministration but were ignored) seek counsels opinion, solicitors, hydrologists and planning consultants and now insurance companies and loss adjusters. All at great expense. All because CEC and our local Councillor refused to accept the evidence of their own eyes.
Rick Andrews
Friday 9th September 2016 at 2:15 pm
And what is the status of the planning applications?
John Dwyer
Friday 9th September 2016 at 4:58 pm
How come Cheshire East can consider planning permission on a site even closer to the subsidence than the properties already affected?
Rick Andrews
Saturday 10th September 2016 at 3:42 pm
The proposed site is not the peat bog- it is the factory and yard area where the peat is processed and loaded. It is a similar distance away from the excavations to many of the properties on Rotherwood lane and the recently approved Ned Yates site.The factory buildings have been there since the 1950s when there was a miniature railway transferring peat from the trench area.I used to pass the factory every day walking to school. It is quite clear on a map. Allowing the housing proposal makes sense as it would stop peat extraction and also remove the current eyesore buildings.
Anthony Evans
Monday 12th September 2016 at 1:01 pm
Unfortunately Rick, the peat extraction process doesn't just affect the area which has been dug. It can have a direct influence on surrounding land up to 1 mile around, sometimes more, which is why the properties affected so far are having trouble with subsidence.
A geological map of the area shows that the proposed housing site is directly ON the peat bog.
Rick Andrews
Monday 12th September 2016 at 4:02 pm
My comment was not about the subsidence, only to say that the peat processing buildings are a similar distance from the peat extraction site as the houses on Rotherwood. Regarding geology, yes there is peat under the proposed site, and under many properties nearby, including Moor Lane (hence the name) and many of the surrounding estates. In fact the peat workings originally extended as far as Paddock Hill to the south west and the filter beds alongside Upcast Lane.
John Dwyer
Monday 12th September 2016 at 7:51 pm
Just a simple question Rick - from somebody who thinks the answer is blindingly obvious.

Would you personally ever consider buying a house on a sinking peat bog?
Tuesday 13th September 2016 at 12:18 pm
John - there are areas of Wilmslow and its surrounds where I wouldn't dream of buying a house. You only have to take a look at historical maps.
Chris Boothman
Wednesday 14th September 2016 at 8:17 pm
Bit late now to ask a question to which the answer was obvious all along.