A loophole in the law is likely to allow peat to be extracted from Auchencorth Moss on the Penicuik Estate in breach of local and national planning policy. Peat is a vital store of carbon, and is meant to be protected to help prevent climate pollution.
But because the application by a horticultural company is seeking to renew a 30-year-old old minerals permission, it can’t be rejected. If new conditions are imposed, compensation may also be payable.
The situation has been condemned as “shockingly outdated and inconsistent” by environmentalists. They are calling on ministers to take urgent action to close the loophole.
The 3,000-hectare Penicuik Estate has been owned and run by the Clerk family since 1654. The family is currently headed by Sir Robert Clerk, the 11th Baronet of Penicuik Estate.