Carbon emissions fear over peat plans

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A bid to start cutting peat at Mossmorran in Fife after more than 20 years, continues to be opposed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland.

The charity is calling on the Scottish Government to stick to planning policies and prevent the destruction of the rare habitat by not allowing commercial peat extraction to resume.

The organisation is opposing the move by peat extractors Everris Ltd who are appealing to the Scottish Government against Fife Council’s decision to refuse permission to allow them to extract 12,000 tonnes of peat a year from the site over the next ten years.

RSPB Scotland, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency all lodged official objections to the application, while Scottish National Heritage advised that the proposal contradicted Scottish Planning Policy.

Claire Smith is RSPB Scotland’s Conservation Officer for Fife. She said: “We welcomed Fife Council’s decision and are bitterly disappointed that the developers have continued to pursue such a damaging proposal, which runs contrary to planning policy.

“Resuming peat extraction on this site would be a huge step backwards, when restoring the site should be a priority. We are sure that Scottish Ministers would not want to approve such a damaging proposal when they are such strong supporters of Scotland’s peatlands”.

Peat bogs contain and absorb carbon in the same way as trees and plants, but in much higher quantities. The Viking-age peat bog has not been worked for more than 20 years, and there are fears that Everris’ plans would result in the release of more than 26,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change.