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Spoiling Nature

Lowland raised bogs were among the rarest and most threatened habitats in Europe and took thousands of years to form and so conservationists have criticised councillors for giving the green light to remove millions of cubic metres of peat for compost from Midlothian.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust said it was "incredibly disappointing" peat extraction had been given the go-ahead at Auchencorth Moss, near Penicuik, over the next two decades. The trust said peatlands were important carbon stores and wildlife habitats. It said they could also play an important part in reducing flood risk. Dr Maggie Keegan, Scottish Wildlife Trust's head of policy, said: "It's incredibly disappointing that the destruction of peat bogs continues to be permitted while millions of pounds are being spent on their restoration elsewhere as part of Scotland's commitment to reducing carbon emissions.”
Westland Horticulture is to extract peat from Auchencorth Moss on the Penicuik Estate near Edinburgh. The 3,000-hectare Penicuik Estate has been owned and run by the Clerk family since 1654. An application by estate tenant Westland is seeking to renew a 30-year-old old minerals permission, so can not be rejected. If new conditions are imposed, compensation may be payable. Westland, wants to extract 100,000 cubic metres of peat every year until 2042 from 240 hectares of Auchencorth Moss. Permission was originally given in 1986, and the company is now seeking to renew that under a ‘review of minerals permission’ process. But the process only allows for planning conditions to be updated, and does not permit the original consent to be withdrawn.

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