23 Feb 1999
Residents from a town in northern England and British environmental
campaigners, Friends of the Earth, are appealing to the shareholders
of US company Scotts - which is holding it Annual General Meeting
in Marysville, Ohio on Tuesday 23 February - to stop their company
damaging some of the most precious countryside in Britain. The Mayor
of Thorne has also written to the mayor of Marysville asking for help.
Britain's largest lowland raised peatlands  are being severely damaged
by Scotts in order for the company to sell multi-purpose compost based
on peat. The company's major sites in the UK - Thorne Moor, Hatfield
Moor, and Wedholme Flow are all recognised for their importance to the
UK's wildlife and are officially designated as Sites of Special Scientific
Interest indicating that they are among the nation's most important
wildlife havens. Thorne and Wedholme are also in part designated as
nature reserves by the European Union.Compost forms about 20 per cent
of Scotts' business.
Local residents, local authorities, conservationists and politicians
have been concerned about extraction of peat from these sites for many
years. The Scotts Company - via its UK arm Levingtons - has held on
to the sites and is claiming large sums of public money as compensation
to stop damaging them.
The Mayor of Thorne and Moorends, Councillor John Cresswell said:
As a result of the high level of local interest in Thorne Moors and concern that wildlife and plants should be preserved, I decided to voice the concerns of the Community by writing to Mayor Jo Taulbee of Marysville, Ohio where the Head Office of The Scotts Company is based.
I suggested that not only the wildlife and plants but also jobs
could be safeguarded by the switching of the local plant production
to sustainable peat free alternative garden products.
Unfortunately, I have not yet had a reply.
Brent Blackwelder, President, Friends of the Earth US said:
"It's absolutely shameful that the Scotts Company is destroying
Britain's ancient peatlands. This is tantamount to destroying our precious
redwood forests to make garden fertilizer."
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 Thorne Moor, Hatfield Moor and Wedholme Flow are in the north of England and are the UK's largest lowland raised peatlands. Such raised bogs are formed by the slow decay of sphagnum mosses over thousands of years, trapping water on flat lowland areas to form quivering domes of waterlogged peatland, rich in wildlife (sometimes they are called 'quaking bogs'). Such peatlands also act as a record of thousands of years of human activity as well as an irreplaceable archive of environmental and ecological change. Bog bodies such as Lindow man have been found in Britain's peatlands. Over 3,000 species of invertebrates as well as wild birds such as the nightjar and plants such as the (insectivorous) round-leaved sundew have been recorded at Thorne alone.
All the sites are (legally) exploited by The Scotts Company through
its UK business Levingtons -despite the fact that all the sites are
designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). SSSI designation
is the UK's official wildlife designation reflecting the high value
of the sites.
FOE is campaigning to improve legal protection for SSSIs with special
attention to peatlands.
Friends of the Earth
26-28 Underwood St.
Tel: 020 7490 1555
Fax: 020 7490 0881