§ Lord Melchett
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they can confirm that a large drain has been dug 200 metres into an area of the Duich Moss site of special scientific interest on Islay in breach of the planning consent granted to Scottish Malt Distillers allowing them to cut peat from part of this site, and whether they will confirm that this drain lies in an area designated for Phase 2 of the development, and that the planning consent states that no work on the Phase 2 area should take place until at least 12 years after Phase 1 has started, and then not until after a full review has been carried out by the Scottish Office, the Nature Conservancy Council and Scottish Malt Distillers.
§ The Lord Advocate (Lord Cameron of Lochbroom)
I can confirm that a drainage ditch appears to have been excavated in that part of Duich Moss which corresponds with the area described as Phase 2 in the conditions attached to the planning permission for peat extraction granted to Scottish Malt Distillers Limited by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. I can also confirm that one of the 1599WA other conditions attached to the grant of planning permission stipulates that no drainage of Phase 2 shall be carried out until at least 12 years after peat cutting operations in Phase 1 have begun and drainage is required in anticipation of the commencement of cutting on Phase 2. A further condition stipulates that, before any drainage for Phase 2 is begun, certain of the other conditions shall be reviewed by the planning authority (not by the Scottish Office) in consultation with Scottish Malt Distillers Limited and the Nature Conservancy Council.
Scottish Malt Distillers Limited have now responded to a request from the Scottish Development Department for comments on the apparent breach of the conditions, and the department is awaiting comments on this response from Argyll and Bute District Council, the Nature Conservancy Council and the Greenland White-Fronted Goose Study.