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Buglife and other conservation organisations campaigned against proposed plans to turn this classic peat bog into a landfill site.  If this were allowed to happen it would have lead to the possible extinction of several insects from Scotland.

"Aucheninnes Moss devastation sealed” was the headline in Buglife’s Action update confirming that invertebrate conservationists were appalled when on 13 March 2003 Margaret Curren, the Scottish Minister for Social Justice, announced that the Scottish Parliament would allow the granting of planning permission for a landfill site that will wreck Aucheninnes Moss in Dumfries and Galloway.

Protesting at the threatened site © Paul Raeburn

Protesting at the threatened site © Paul Raeburn

Aucheninnes Moss is a classic peat bog with wet heath areas, and the last remaining relict of the once extensive Barclosh Moss Complex. Various developments and afforestation have destroyed the other bogs in the area, leaving Aucheninnes as a last refuge for threatened plants and invertebrates. The bog's primary biodiversity importance comes from the invertebrate fauna, which includes the following gems:-

Bog bush cricket Metrioptera brachyptera
Nationally scarce, LBAP Priority Species.
While frequently encountered on southern heaths and bogs, this is a rarity in Northern England, and Aucheninnes is its only site in Scotland.

Large heath Coenonympha tullia
WCA listed, SPEC3, BAP species of Conservation Concern.
Protected under Wildlife and Countryside Act, listed as vulnerable in Europe in the Red Data Book of European Butterflies (SPEC3).

Sorrel pigmy moth Enteucha acetosae
Nationally Scarce
Aucheninnes Moss is its only site in Scotland.

Small pearl-bordered fritillary Boloria selene
BAP species of Conservation Concern

The site has probably got many more important invertebrate inhabitants, but in 2002 Dumfries & Galloway Council did not permit local entomologists to visit the site. When we tried again in September 2003 the council, although initially receptive, withdrew support at the eleventh hour, perhaps due to concerns that the wildlife experts would find more important wildlife that would strengthen the case for protecting the site from destruction.

On the 7th September 2003 Buglife, along with over 40 local residents and national invertebrate experts, converged on Aucheninnes Moss in Dumfries and Galloway to record for posterity the biological riches of the bog before its destruction and to express their disgust at plans to turn the wildlife site into a landfill site.

The day of direct action garnered excellent coverage for the site, including a big article in the Herald (see text below), Border TV News, Galloway News and the BBC News website. The survey efforts refound whorled caraway, the first record for many years, and hopefully there are some more interesting discoveries in the pipeline. We wish to thank all who supported the event and especially those who attended.

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