In MCFly 47 we wrote of a direct action to prevent peat being dug up. (See ‘For Peat’s Sake). Since then we’ve received a facebook message from a campaigning group. From it we learnt that Salford City Council is demanding a change in planning policy to ban future peat extraction on Chat Moss. The call comes in response to a consultation by the Greater Manchester Minerals Planning Committee – set up by the 10 councils in the city region to develop a statutory plan. The 10 councils are required by law to produce a plan to lay down rules for deciding planning applications from those who want to extract sand, gravel and other minerals including peat.
In a letter to the Committee, the Council says: “Salford’s view is that the Minerals Plan should contain a clear policy statement that no further peat extraction should be permitted including time extensions to existing permission.”
Salford’s planning lead member Cllr Derek Antrobus said: “Curbing climate change is a central aim of the planning system and peat bogland is an important carbon sink. The Government has announced the phasing out of peat for gardening so there can be no justification for its continued exploitation.” Salford has already proposed a policy in its own key planning document- the Core Strategy – to restore and enhance peat bogland on Chat Moss and prohibit future peat extraction. But this has still to go to a public inquiry.
Four historic permissions exist for peat extractions on Chat Moss from a period when planning rules were more relaxed. Salford faces a battle with Peel Holdings who have also responded to the consultation. They argue that there is no justification for a ban.