Land ‘vandalism’

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It IS good news that a damaged peat bog is to be restored (your report, 11 October). Peat bogs are delicate ecosystems, containing nearly half of the world’s soil carbon. The movement of water both above and below the peat surface and through a natural network of pipe-like structures in peat drives carbon storage and flux. The largest wind farms in Scotland were, however, constructed by digging up peat bogs and this continues. Excavated peat simply oxidises to carbon dioxide.

The damage to the hydrology, structure and functioning of the peat bog extends well beyond any physical excavation, massive alkaline concrete blocks and wind farm roads. Earlier this year the University of Aberdeen published data that indicates that, with the current generating mix, no emissions are saved by wind farms on peat bogs (Ian Terry, Letters, 12 October).

Wind farms previously 
constructed on peat bogs now serve no useful purpose other than to generate grossly-overpriced electricity; they don’t reduce emissions.

When a moratorium on building wind farms on peat bogs was suggested some years back, it was greeted with derision by greens and the renewables industry alike. National guidance is 
supportive of wind energy developments, but only where environmental impacts can be properly addressed. It is time for responsible government action to stop this environmental vandalism and declare peat bogs off-limits to voracious companies and greedy landowners alike.

Prof Tony Trewavas

Scientific Alliance Scotland