The latest Save Danes Moss protest was at the entrance to the Gaw End Lane site in Macclesfield next to Lyme Green. This site is now known as Bollin Grange and has been developed by Bovis Homes with a total of approximately 300 houses.
We take exception to the fact the launch event has a ‘Wildlife Focus’ and see this as a blatant attempt at greenwashing a development next to an extremely sensitive site stacked full of biodiversity. We wonder whether they will be telling prospective buyers about the threat to the wildlife on Danes Moss for another 950 houses that Cheshire East Council are pushing to build adjacent to this site?
This site was formerly part of the greenbelt surrounding Macclesfield and is within metres of the Danes Moss lowland raised peat bog just the other side of the canal which runs along the western boundary of the site.
Followers of the Save Danes Moss campaign will remember that the main protected habitat onsite was ripped out prior to full planning being given, a length of hedge that will have been used by wildlife such as hedgehogs. Read more about this here: Vistry Homes Planning Infringement
Amazingly quantification of any peat onsite was not obtained prior to planning consent being given. Peat was found when development began and its removal was allowed by Cheshire East Council. Read more about this issue in this October 2022 article by the Macclesfield Express: Homes Plan hit by Peat Protestors
It cannot be OVERSTATED on how important peat is for storing carbon in the fight against climate change.
The demonstration gained a lot of support from passing cars and will have been seen by all visitors to the ‘VIP’ event as well as a drone which appeared to take off from the development site and observed us. Attendees apparently included pupils from local schools and sadly representatives from wildlife charities which were invited and accepted this greenwashing event despite having had next to no meaningful impact on the development.
Are highly publicised ‘hedgehog highways’ really going to stop the decline of this species in Cheshire East when their prime habitat is ripped out and concreted over? One of the individuals from a wildlife organisation came to speak to us to find out more, but sadly said they were unable to say who they were. Perhaps there was a realisation they should not be allowing the use of their name in connection with environmentally damaging greenfield developments such as this.
Save Danes Moss understand there is housing required within the UK, but this need is for affordable social housing and not soulless housing estates encroaching on our priceless lowland peat bogs where the vast majority of builds are way above the price bracket of those that need them the most.
Here are a selection of moths which are section 41 species of principal importance, local authorities now have a legal duty to have regard to conserving biodiversity in the exercise of their normal functions. In England they are protected by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006. These species and many others live just across the canal from the site that may be impacted by the light pollution from the Bollin Grange site. Species like this were not taken into account as part of any studies or ‘mitigation’ measures despite the fact the site is within metres of a rare lowland peat bog (in itself a Section 41 habitat of principle importance). The southern section of Danes Moss is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
There is now a lot of evidence light pollution is an important factor in moth declines in the UK. For more information take a look at this recent Butterfly Conservation article on the subject: Streetlights Reduce Moth Populations