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Planning controversy over shoot flightponds

An estate on Eskdalemuir has gone to Holyrood for retrospective permission for duck ponds, but locals are pushing back hard, reports Patrick Galbraith

duck flighting

South West Scotland is a fine place for duck flighting

There’s a row going on in Dumfries and Galloway, one of Britain’s heartlands of duck shooting and a destination for wildfowlers from all over Britain. An estate on Eskdalemuir has apparently gone over the heads of the local council and asked the Scottish government at Holyrood for retrospective permission for two commercial flightponds. The applicants cite delays in the planning process for their decision.

Eskadalemuir, alert readers may remember, is home to Gardners Guns, the team that set up a super-long rifle range in the teeth of fierce opposition from local Buddhist monks, who claimed that the noise of shooting was disrupting their natural harmony and meditation.

Reports in the press last year that the Buddhists from the nearby Samye Ling monastery had successfully derailed the retrospective planning application for the range seem to have been premature. There are still super-long-range shooting competitions taking place there.

The flightponds issue is an interesting one, as people in the local village are strongly opposed to permission being granted. One resident said: “The idea of killing for fun and profit is not popular within the village. The noise disturbance adversely affects the quality of life in our community. (Read more on how to build your own flightpond.)

“Anyone can see that this proposal forms part of a bigger plan that will inevitably bring more traffic to roads that are already not fit for purpose.”

The duck shooting contingent at ST, including the Editor, have qualms about commercialising the shooting of wild ducks. Lots of duck species haven’t had a great time of late and monetising duck is questionable. How many teal on the ground is too many?

However, it is hoped that the Scottish government recognises that ponds are vital habitats.

Regular ST diarist and Suffolk conservationist Richard Negus added: “All reputable conservationists would agree the creation of new pond systems provides enormous biodiversity benefits. Religious beliefs or NIMBYism should not be allowed to negatively impact either nature recovery or small rural businesses.”

We reached out to one of the team at Eskdalemuir for comment but we did not get a response.