Diggers sink into rare blanket bog

Two diggers have become stuck in a rare peat bog in Cumbria. Environmentalists fear they may damage the site, which has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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Diggers get that sinking feeling

A second digger became stuck when it tried to help the first digger Credit: Mark Crawford

Environmentalists fear damage is likely to have been done to a rare piece of upland peat bog in Cumbria after two large diggers got stuck.

The two pieces of machinery got trapped last week in Butterburn Flow near Gilsland - a remote area of bog that's been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

It's believed one of the digger drivers was trying to take a short cut across the 1,000 acre site when it got stuck. Another digger that went to rescue it also sank in the bog.

They were working for Northern Powergrid helping to replace wooden electricity poles.

Emma Austin from Natural England said she was particularly worried about fuel leaking from the machines.

"It is a sensitive community. It's rare. The threat we've got immediately is from oil pollution. Our priority is to get them off with as minimum damage as possible."

– Emma Austin from Natural England

The vehicles are stuck about a mile from the nearest road. A temporary metal road surface will be laid across the bog to near the stranded diggers. A chain will then be attached to them and they will be dragged free.

Butterburn Flow is considered to be the most important site of its kind in England. Known as "blanket mire" it contains bog mosses including Sphagnum moss and many other rare plants as well as breeding wader birds.

The two diggers are stuck on an area of 'Scientific Interest' and environmentalists fear it could damage the site
Two diggers are stuck in the bog Credit: ITV Border

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