Crook of Baldoon plans pulled from council meeting

THE argument over land use at the Crook of Baldoon nature reserve is set to rumble on as a decision on its future was removed from the agenda of a Dumfries and Galloway Council meeting this week.

Wildfowlers have come to blows with RSPB representatives over who should have the right to use parts of the Crook since the RSPB bought the land in 2010.

Now a recommendation by Simon Fieldhouse, countryside services manager within the council, outlined a 60/40 percent split in favour of a no-shoot zone which was due to be discussed and decided at a meeting of the planning, housing and environment services on Tuesday.

But following months of debate on the issue, the item was removed from the agenda by the council who claim that new information relating to byelaws had become available, and that the issue would be returned to the committee at a later date.

RSPB area manager Andrew Bielinski said he was disappointed that a resolution will now be postponed until after the local elections in May.

He said: “It is disappointing the item was pulled this late in the day given the process we’ve been through already and the discussions we’ve had with the Local Nature Reserve committee and beyond.

“It was very late in the day to discover an issue with the paperwork.”

He added that the RSPB had worked hard to reach a compromise and to now face more delays wouldn’t benefit anyone.

He said: “I appreciate this is not an easy situation but we did what was required, and now we may have to wait until after the elections in May before we progress with this. But at the end of the day, this is a council decision and they are the ones controlling the process.

“However, it helps no one to have this uncertainity around the issue.”

Councillor Graham Nicol said: “I would like to think that the next time we see this report it will be at a full council meeting to dicuss any changes required in the byelaws due to an agreed position which will have been reached between the RSBP, Wildfowlers and any others stakeholders who may be involved.

“I would urge all parties involved to get around the table and come up with a compromise situation because none of the parties are going to get everything they want and a compromise will have to be reached. We as councillors should not be forced into imposing a compromise on the interested parties.”