Barlow's Beef: Is Lindow Moss the last stand?


Unusually for me I've been ill for almost a month. Twin infections created a raging fever draining every ounce of energy. After three days of lying on the sofa watching Brain Dead Daytime TV (I swear Little Jimmy Krankie appeared at the height of my feverish hallucinations). I ventured outside the house.

It was late afternoon and I spotted a hare darting across a frost-encrusted field. After weeks of feeling dreadful it really lifted my spirits.

It was the same elation I felt after a very exhausting trip to Hong Kong when the exquisite song of a solitary blackbird welcomed me home.

Nature has endless ways of refreshing our flagging spirits. It's a prime ingredient in our quality of life. Sadly, (for her) Mother Nature bestows her gifts upon us free of charge... and it's killing her.

You can't make money from birdsong, water lilies or bluebells BUT you can make fortunes by destroying their habitat. All you need is a plausible excuse.

Suppose you have a vision to transform Cheshire into some vague kind of industrial powerhouse. You could destroy huge swathes of open land on the premise that more jobs mean more houses (and to hell with birds and bees).

You could also claim that first-time buyers desperately need starter homes, acquire the land, then build expensive executive houses (and to hell with first time buyers).

In time fastfood outlets, coffee shops, car showrooms and retail parks would replace, fields, streams and woodland eliminating plants, birds, animals and anything else dependent upon a natural habitat.

This is already happening. In London, where sparrow numbers fell by 60% between 1994 and 2004. I didn't dream that up... it's a fact reported by the RSPB.

The fiscal plans of politicians always assume growth. Population growth, industrial growth, commercial growth ad infinitum. They cannot survive without it. Growth means increased civic prestige, increased revenues and, boy, do they love that. But what about us?

Do we want 'growth' and all that it entails'?

Are we prepared to be part of an increasing urban society sharing fewer and fewer open spaces? Will more fast food joints make up for the loss of a bluebell wood? Will another retail park be ample compensation for a favourite walk? Are we happy to see a bridle paths replaced by a link road?

Cheshire East does not want to ask you these questions in case (heaven forbid) you answer no. In which case all their grandiose plans for transforming Cheshire into an industrial powerhouse go the same way as the Lyme Green debacle.

If you, the residents, were to insist your woodlands, fields and open spaces were of more importance to your quality of life than a huge estate, retail park, and industrial hub Cheshire East would be apoplectic.

Before you could say pomposity they'd be threatening massive job losses, homelessness, school closures, plague, famine and pestilence until you endorsed their 'growth' plan.

Saltersley Common Preservation Society were sufficiently concerned about peat extraction at Lindow Moss they commissioned a consultant to carry out a comprehensive survey and report on the consequences.

His conclusions state: "Peat extraction is simply devastating. What should be a raised mire with dragonflies, water voles, lizards and birds like nightjars, stonechats, etc is basically just destroyed."

Croghan Peat Industries Ltd of Meare, Somerset purchased the Moss in 1997-8. In December 2014 they submitted two planning applications, to build 14 detached houses on part of Lindow Moss.

So there you have it another irreplaceable area of ancient habitat destroyed to assuage the insatiable drive for 'growth.'

Do you remember the 80's when politicians told us 'greed was good'? Doesn't look so good now does it?

So here's my question: we are a large population living on a small island, we clearly have a finite amount of open land. If we continue to push for 'growth' what happens when we have no open spaces left?

What sort of Cheshire will our children and grandchildren inherit or will it all just be Greater Manchester?

Sometimes you have to fight for what you hold dear.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow