May be of some interest to those forum members who do a bit of wildfowling:-
On Dec 14th 2011 Wigtown Area Committee (Community) held a public consultation exercise in Wigtown County Buildings to discuss the proposed integration of Crook Of Baldoon into Wigtown Bay Local Nature reserve.
At the meeting a report into future management options for the LNR was presented by Council Officials together with a recommended compromise between wildfowling interests who wish to maintain the status quo and RSPB interests who wish to curtail shooting on the foreshore adjacent to the Crook.
I was unable to attend this meeting owing to work commitments but a brief report in local newspapers indicated that a compromise acceptable to all parties had been reached.
I recently attended Wigtown Bay Wildfowlers AGM and it became very clear that this is not, in fact the case, no consensus has been reached , in fact Wigtown Bay Wildfowlers members and BASC officials who attended the meeting described it as “farcical and a sham”.
Council Officials recommended that approx 75% of the Crook foreshore should remain open for wildfowling, but be restricted to a 10m wide strip of the foreshore at the point where the green merse meets the bay. Shooting on the green merse and decoying south of the Bladnoch to be banned. The reasons behind this recommendation are clearly explained in the report and can be summarised by “we can quantify the economic benefit of wildfowling to the local economy, the possible benefits of wildlife tourism arising from the RSPB are an unknown”.
Councillors present – one of whom declared herself to be a present RSPB member and another a former RSPB member - ignored the advice of their Officials and the clearly expressed views of both local wildfowlers and those with an economic interest, e.g. Accommodation providers, and chose to recommend that only the southern 25% of the Crook should remain open for wildfowling. In fact this section is of little value to wildfowlers since it is flat, featureless and offers little cover.
Other clauses in this agreed recommendation are similarly of little practical value, and the entire proposal can be described in the words of John Nance Garner “not worth a pitcher of warm spit!”
Local wildfowlers and other interested parties should be aware that this recommendation – which essentially closes the Crook of Baldoon to wildfowling – will be presented at a meeting of the Planning Housing and Environment Services Committee on March 13th, they may wish to discuss both the outcome and the conduct of this meeting with their local councillors, I would certainly urge them to do so.
They should also be aware that after years of WBWC pushing for a warden to be provided and being assured that no funding was available from public sources the RSPB has been able to appoint a Warden for the Crook of Baldoon with the assistance of £32,000 from D&G LEADER programme and further assistance from both SNH and the National Lottery.
BASC advice is that the local wildfowling clun consider all options and warn the local council that this will not wash and may result in the club and their landholding leaving the Local Nature Reserve.