“I have lived on the edge of Hatfield Moor virtually all of my life. Childhood and teenage memories are of a wonderful wilderness, a haven for unique and enigmatic biodiversity. Now the devastation is heartbreaking. The last decade has seen a US multinational plunder a UK national treasure so that they can make massive short-term profits. In places, their massive plant machinery is punching through the bottom peat layer and exposing the underlying sands and gravel. They are destroying the very sensitive hydrological integrity of the bog - rather like turning a plastic bowl into a colander.” Helen Kirk, Thorne and Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum.
Despite their less-than-glamorous image, the UK’s lowland raised peatbogs are one of the country’s most important wildlife habitats and are of national and international conservation interest.
The bogs form a unique and fascinating home for many rare species, including birds (the nightjar, woodlark, curlew, merlin, peregrines, hen and marsh harriers and long-eared owl), plants (the “carnivorous” round leaved sundew, butterwort, bladderwort, bog rosemary and many species of sphagnum mosses, which carpet the suface of the bogs in brilliant green, ochre yellow and rusty red), and thousands of rare insect species including the bog hog and the Hairy Canary fly.
Sadly, these treasures are fast disappearing. A 1996 study showed that of an original 69,700 hectares of peatbogs, only 5.5 percent, or 3,836 hectares could still be described as in a “near natural” state.
Some of the worst industrial scale peat extraction currently taking place in the UK is being carried out by a US-based multinational, The Scott’s Company. Scott’s, the world’s largest garden products company and a huge provider of compost, stepped up extraction in anticipation of new UK government regulations that will give several important and threatened peatbogs protected status.
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland is pushing for a speedy implementation of protected status for the country’s peatbogs before they are dug up and sold in plastic bags.
more information: www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/corporates/case_studies/scotts
a ray of hope
Today I’ve seen seven storks
On the meadow
Maybe the world won’t become extinct
Robert Fidrich, Friends of the Earth Hungary
a plea for the peatbogs us corporate digs british treasures for compost www.scottscompany.com