Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Trust opposes plans for peat extraction in Fife

Peatland Image copyright Google
Image caption The dark patch is the peatland site

The Scottish Wildlife Trust is opposing plans for commercial peat extraction in Fife.

The trust "strongly believes" there should be no new peat extraction sites, and existing ones should be restored.

It said proposals for peat extraction at a site near Mossmorran were contrary to the Scottish government's plans to reduce the use of peat in horticulture.

Peat accumulates at a rate of about 1cm per decade. Everris, is proposing to extract to a depth of 1.2m.

John McTague, Scottish Wildlife Trust planning assistant, said the peat turf, which is decayed organic matter, would have taken about 1,200 years to form.

There was no immediate response from Everris.

Viking arrival

Mr McTague said: "At a time when peatlands are recognised as an important natural capital asset, it is disappointing to see companies still wanting to extract peat for horticulture.

"The ecosystem services peatlands provide - such as water filtration, flood mitigation and carbon capture - are much more valuable to society than their use after being dug up.

"It takes a decade for 1cm of peat to form. So, it is amazing to think the 1.2 metres of peat proposed for extraction at this site would have begun forming 1200 years ago - roughly around the time the Vikings arrived in Scotland.

"Across Scotland, lowland bogs need restoration with approximately 90% being damaged or destroyed.

"If restored, this site could be rich with peat specialist plants such as cranberry, heather and sundew, to provide crucial habitat for wildlife such as breeding snipe and wintering merlins.

"Many gardeners and allotment owners have used peat-free composts for years, showing that the archaic practice of destroying peat for horticulture is not needed for the production of quality compost."

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