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Home | News | Future of Langholm moor in spotlight: End of June deadline for Buccleuch consultation
 
News | 6th June 2019
 

Future of Langholm moor in spotlight: End of June deadline for Buccleuch consultation

 
 
 

Community ownership and the creation of a nature reserve are among suggestions for the future of Langholm Moor made this week.

Fears of “unsympathetic development” of the protected area have also been voiced, following Buccleuch’s shock announcement last week that it intends to sell the Moor as part of a 25,000 acre landholding stretching between Langholm and Newcastleton.
Its public consultation, ahead of marketing the land, was launched on Thursday and runs until June 28. It has already generated responses from far and wide.
Andrew Brough, head of rural property for Buccleuch, told Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk Community Council on Monday the online consultation was live on its website and paper copies would go into local hubs this week.
Responses so far included one from Inverness and one from Wiltshire.
Dumfries & Galloway councillor Archie Dryburgh asked if purchase would be open to “social enterprise types of organisations”.
Mr Brough confirmed: “It’s on the open market. We have no preconceptions about who would be interested.”
A Buccleuch spokesman said there were no plans for any form of public meeting, but representatives were arranging meetings with local interest

groups. It plans to publish feedback by mid-July.
Kevin Cumming, Project Manager of Wild Eskdale believes the sale could generate opportunities for the community.
“It’s important that time is taken to discuss the potential of this. I hope people will engage with the consultation process and that positive conversations are had regarding what the future might hold.
“The most important thing is that this is a place of outstanding natural beauty with nationally important wildlife which should be at the forefront of how the land should be used going forward.”
The Moor is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area for its breeding hen harriers and merlins.
“I believe these statuses don’t disappear with the sale of land and should offer protection,” Kevin said. “Moorland is one of the rarest habitats in the world and is becoming rarer.”
Gavin Graham, chairman of Langholm Walks, said his main fear for the Moor is forestry, but he hoped the area’s protected status would stop that happening.

Gavin Graham, chairman of Langholm Walks, said his main fear for the Moor is forestry, but he hoped the area’s protected status would stop that happening.
He said he could see the potential of a community buy-out for the Tarras valley area, headed up by an organisation with charitable status.
Field ecologist John Halliday, from Langholm, said: “I think it’s an opportunity for a conservation body to create a nature reserve because it’s of such outstanding interest.
“We just have to hope its designations will protect it from any unsympathetic development like forestry or wind farms.”
John has been interested in the Moor for more than 40 years and has been monitoring its merlins since 1981.
“The Moor is a fantastic resource, so close to the town, and we should be making the most of it.”
He said if a reserve was created it should involve farmers, land managers and conservationists working together: “The key is sustainable management.”
The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is still gathering information about farmers within the area. Its Chairman Christopher Nicholson said: “From what I can gather, the secure tenants in this block were bought out a while ago, and there may be a few non-secure tenants but not many.”
He added: “The forestry lobby would happily watch the south of Scotland disappear under a blanket of Sitka, so if local folk don’t want that, they need to speak out now.”
Dr Cat Barlow, South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project Manager, said they were confident any planning application would be carefully assessed to ensure minimal impact on the eagles and their habitats.
Find Buccleuch consultation at www.buccleuch.com/
langholm-moor-consultation

 
 
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