CHESHIRE East Council has issued a statement to the Guardian this week defending its position on Wilmslow's Lindow Moss.

It follows a number of reports in the Guardian in recent months which point to destruction of the ancient area by peat extraction and drainage, which campaigners and experts say has caused the land to drop alarmingly around a number of properties.

A recent survey by water vole expert Derek Gow, led him to comment that he 'had never seen an area so comprehensively trashed' and he added the chances of the protected species was all but destroyed by the drainage of water off the site. The statement flies in the face of what Mr Gow found.

The council also failed to provide the Guardian with specific e-mails between it and the peat extractor Croghan Peat, to back up its claims laid out below that it consistently monitors the site and the dipwells.

The council spokesman said: “As we have previously stated there is a long and complex history to this site and Cheshire East Council continues to monitor the site on a regular basis in accordance with the statutory monitoring regime adopted for all mineral sites and therefore officers carry out visits to Lindow Common twice a year.

“Consent to extract peat was granted many years ago and it is most likely this type of operation would not be given approval today.

“The site was last monitored in September 2015 and was due to be visited again in January 2016.

However, that visit has now been brought forward and will take place before the end of the month.

“The site will be thoroughly inspected to ensure that planning conditions are met.

“The operator has submitted an application to restore the site and that will be considered by the council’s planning authority through the usual process.

“In answer to specific questions, the matter of the sluice and settlement pond was dealt with by the previous authority Cheshire County Council, but not enforced as there was evidence to the effect that this would be detrimental to protected species including water voles. An alternative method is being discussed with the operator whose restoration proposals will be discussed with him and with the Environment Agency.

“The council is investigating whether or not sand has been removed and there is no evidence that there has been a breach of the water vole protection scheme, nor is there any evidence that land subsidence is linked to the extraction of peat.”