Danes Moss, South Macclesfield

28th February 2022

CPRE Cheshire recommends that development at Danes Moss be reconsidered in light of the council’s commitment to Net Zero by 2025, and the significance of the ecology on the proposed development site.

CPRE would not usually object to a site allocated for development via the democratic local plan process, however, due to a change in the urgency for action against the climate emergency it does object to the development of Danes Moss in South Macclesfield.  It is understood significant and substantial environmental harm would arise should the development of the peat moss be implemented.

The importance of Peatlands

Peat moss is scientifically proven to be a significant natural store of carbon.  Nationally, The Climate Change Committee recommends 79% of peatlands should be restored by 2050 to support the Government’s international legally binding commitments on climate change.  If development occurs it will lead to the emission of a significant amount of greenhouse gases.  Cheshire East brought forward the development of its Environment Strategy as the UK Parliament declared an environment and climate emergency on 1 May 2019.

Development of the peat moss will lead to significant and substantial greenhouse gas emissions contrary to both the national commitments and the Council’s stated declaration.

The development of the site will also cause substantial harm to biodiversity of rarity.  We echo the concerns of Cheshire Wildlife Trust, which highlights the planned development will be a significant risk to the rare ecology, including the UK’s second most threatened species of bird, the Willow Tit. This Red-listed species was identified as breeding on the site in 2021 and allowing the development to take place will push the species to extinction. Cheshire East Council must rethink the development decision and not allow for the negative consequences associated with the development in the future.

High delivery of homes across Cheshire East between 2018 and 2021

According to the latest report of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) published in January 2022, showing performance against the Housing Delivery Test, Cheshire East achieved three times the required 2, 816 dwellings by achieving 8,442 completions between 2018 and 2021, equal to 300%.  The housing requirement is in CPRE’s view too high as it was based on the Government’s mandated use of out of date Office of National Statistic 2014 based population data relying on high growth, which has been shown not to have occurred in reality by the 2016, 2018 and 2020 updates.  The need for the scale of additional development is in CPRE’s view questionable.

The accelerated delivery of housing often on ‘off-local plan’ sites requires a review of the cumulative greenhouse and ecological impacts across Cheshire East as the information held by the Council will be out of date.

Considering the Council’s declared commitment to reducing carbon emissions and becoming carbon neutral by 2025, and the known rarity and significance of the ecology at the location, CPRE recommends that the Council should review the development effects at Danes Moss in South Macclesfield and reconsider the development decision. CPRE believes the outline permission should be rescinded in light of our up to date knowledge.

If you would like to express your support for the campaign against developing this site, please sign the petition below, created by the Save Danes Moss campaign group.

https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-destruction-of-danes-moss-peatland-for-housing-and-retail-development

Danes Moss Nature Reserve Dave Dunford