06 Aug 1999
Advisory Notice For Saturday 7th August, 1999
page 1 of 2
BOG OFF SCOTTS!
Microlites and Giant Banner Send Message
As US Giant Trashes Top British Wildlife Site
A 100 ft banner with the slogan BOG OFF SCOTTS will be unveiled on Thorne and Hatfield Moors near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
LOCATION: (Meet Saturday 11am, prompt)
Meet at the Robin Hood Pub car park, Hatfield Woodhouse, near Doncaster. Press will then be led to where the banner will be unveiled and the microlights will fly past.
FOR PICTURE DESKS:
Pictures available from ISF, Image net from 4.30pm, Saturday 7th August.
Look under New pictures folder - Scott peat protest.
Photographer, Adrian Arbib: Tel: 0411
A giant banner with the words Bog Off Scotts will be unveiled this weekend, to show a major US corporation the strength of local feeling against the extraction of peat from a precious wildlife site in South Yorkshire. The demonstration comes as local people and environment groups voice their disgust at deeply misleading claims by The Scotts Company, and their despair at the UK Government's repeated failure to protect British peatlands.
Local children, community groups, Doncaster Naturalists, Friends of the Earth, and a local MP have organised the event on Thorne and Hatfield Moors SSSI near Doncaster, on Saturday 7th August, in an attempt to get the Ohio based company to suspend peat extraction from Britain's largest lowland peat bog. Aerial photographs and video footage of the massive banner, taken from the microlight aircraft as they fly over devastated parts of the bog, will be sent to the company's Head Office in Ohio and to news organisations in the US. Organisers are hoping that the shocking images of wildlife destruction will ensure
US consumers begin to realise the devastation of wildlife that is being
wrought by The Scotts Company.
Campaigners have run out of patience with the corporation, following
a number of deeply misleading public statements by their managers and
spin doctors. In this week's issue of the industry journal Horticultural
Week, for example, Operations Director at Scott's substrate division
Nick Templeheald claims that:
We extract from places of no wildlife interest - adjacent to designated SSSIs, but entirely separate from them.
And yet, Scotts' operations on Thorne Moors SSSI, Hatfield Moors SSSI
in Yorkshire and Wedholme Flow SSSI in Cumbria are all within the boundaries
of the respective Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The areas have
been selected by the UK Government's conservation advisors because of
their wildlife value, and the designation puts them in top 8% UK land
area in wildlife terms.
But the protestors are also frustrated at the UK Government's failure
to protect these precious sites. Earlier this week, Environment Minister
Michael Meacher, set out his plans to increase the protection available
for SSSIs, but these plans failed to address the legislative weaknesses
which companies like Scotts are exploiting.
Local resident Isabelle Edwards of Moorend near Thorne, when talking
about the demonstration, said:
We hope that these unusual tactics will ensure that Scotts get the message that people here in South Yorkshire object to this precious habitat being plundered for its peat. We are tired of standing by a this beautiful and fragile bit of England is literally sold off by the pound.
Kevin Hughes MP for Doncaster North said;
It's great to see local people taking up what is not just a national but also an international issue. It really is time that we stopped the extraction of peat from this important Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Craig Bennett, Wildlife Campaigner for Friends of the Earth said:
Today we have seen local people come together in a desperate attempt to save their moors from the ravages of a major US corporation. Their determination is inspiring, but the arrogance of The Scotts Company, in claiming the areas aren't important for wildlife, is shocking.
It just goes to show that you don't have to go to developing countries to find examples of multinationals destroying wildlife and ignoring local people while an ambivalent government looks on. It's about time the UK Government stood up for British wildlife and took steps to end peat extraction in SSSIs.
Friends of the Earth
26-28 Underwood St.
Tel: 020 7490 1555
Fax: 020 7490 0881