CHESHIRE EAST Council has committed itself to addressing issues which it was criticised for by a government ombudsman three years ago over a failure by a peat extraction firm to fully comply with planning conditions at Lindow Moss.

It follows our exclusive story in last week's Guardian which highlighted the plight of Newgate Kennel's owner Joel Millet, who says his land has sunk by two feet in just six years.

A hydrological report published last month has concluded that the addition of a settlement pond and a sluice gate to further prevent water seeping off the land should be carried out 'as a matter of priority' by Croghan Peat, to prevent further subsidence.

The firm was originally granted permission to extract peat by Cheshire County Council, provided that it fulfilled 51 planning conditions, but which have to date never been fully complied with.

A complaint to a local government ombudsman against Cheshire County Council's lack of enforcement in 2003, was made by Tony Evans, the secretary of Saltersley Common Preservation Society, it concluded there had been maladministration but there was no causal link proven between the peat extraction and the sinking land and the loss of water voles

Cheshire East Council took over responsibility for monitoring the conditions were being undertaken when it was first established as a local authority in April 2009.

In December 2012, a a second complaint was made to the local government ombudsman about Cheshire East Council's alleged failure to control the commercial extraction of peat.

Ombudsman Rhona McMeekin decided she could not at the time find an unequivocal link to peat extraction and the subsidence of the surrounding land or to a reduction in the water vole population, however, she did conclude: "All I can say is that failure to require compliance with the conditions of the planning permission (or decide they were not expedient to enforce), is maladministration and the council should take immediate steps to ensure this does not persist."

A Cheshire East Council spokesman told the Guardian this week: "Cheshire East Council is sympathetic to any impact of the geological nature of this site on local residents and is constantly monitoring the situation in the light of the current application to restore the site.

"This is a complex and long-standing matter relating to peat extraction and the issues raised pre-date Cheshire East Council.

"However, this council is in contact with the Environment Agency and the operator regarding the fluctuation in water levels and any link to current operations.

"The council is currently awaiting a response from the Environment Agency to the technical statement provided by the operator, who we understand has commissioned further hydrological assessments.

"We will continue to work with both the operator and statutory bodies to ensure all environmental issues are addressed in full, prior to any decision on the application to restore the site.

"The ombudsman’s investigation into alleged maladministration in 2003 by the former Cheshire County Council, found that on the balance of probability, it was impossible to establish a causal link between any maladministration and the potential hydrological impacts, or incidents of subsidence in the surrounding area."

At the time of going to press there was no response made by Croghan Peat.