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Thread: A Pitcher of Warm Spit

  1. #1

    A Pitcher of Warm Spit

    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.

  2. #2
    Sad times indeed, another historic wildfowling ground lost to the RSPB, and they use public money to do it!!!

    Happened on a much smaller scale aswell at Southport, when the local council retracted the wildfowling license on the saltmarsh at the same time they handed over management of the adjacent freshmarsh to our friends the RSPB.

    Time and time again local councils are shown to be anti shooting when presented with a choice between wildfowing continuing or a so called conservation body taking over.

  3. #3
    its the usual rspb big boots treatment but this is far from over.the club have other options available to them if this proposal is accepted,and its only a proposal from a sub commitee.there is lots of hard work on the way from both club and basc.everyone who uses this area is up in arms but when asked to fill out a simple form detailing there spending in the area hardly anyone bothers.typical shooting apathy.

  4. #4
    Well its not yet a done deal and in the last couple of weeks we have been successful in getting some coverage in the local press which has both RSPB and the councillors concerned on the back foot - if any of you good folks are interested - particularly in D&G then please feel free to write or phone to papers or councillors as takes your fancy


  5. #5
    Latest Press Release:-

    Wigtown Bay Wildfowlers will warmly welcome the latest move in the saga over wildfowling rights on the foreshore adjacent to the RSPB Crook of Baldoon reserve.

    A motion to be placed before Councillors at Tuesday’s meeting of the Planning, Housing and Environment Committee could have seen wildfowling on the foreshore at the Crook of Baldoon cut by 60%, with only the southern 40% remaining available to local and visiting fowlers. This motion was withdrawn late on Monday afternoon although no reason for the withdrawal was given

    Once the report backing this recommendation – authored by Council Officials - was made available to the public both local wildfowlers and BASC protested to governance officials that the report was illogical and at times contradictory, one sided in its approach, and failed to take any account of the public consultation or submissions made by wildfowling interests . The report itself indicated that the adoption of the recommendation would have resulted in significant short term losses to accommodation providers around Wigtown.

    Local wildfowlers remain keen to find a solution which will allow the RSPB to maximise the potential of the farmlands of the Crook of Baldoon as a wildfowl reserve and possible long term visitor attraction while minimising the effect on wildfowling interests.

    We note Mr Bielinski’s comments in the Galloway Gazetter letters section last week and only wish that the RSPB actions and attitudes we encounter mirrored his comments. It is perfectly true to say that RSPB interests have had significant engagement with local wildfowling interests – what he fails to mention is that the RSPB has had to be dragged to the table and has to the best of my knowledge never engaged directly with local wildfowlers but insist on doing so through council officials. Our impression is that the RSPB would very much prefer to deal with council officials direct and in isolation.

    Wildfowlers will be more than happy to see habitat improvements at the Crook, what we are not happy to see is blatant attempts to use potential commercial development to leverage councillors into arbitrarily and prematurely removing traditional wildfowling ground. BASC calculations indicate that should the present proposals be adopted the foreshore available for wildfowling would be reduced from an original 11.5 miles to 3.5 miles – a total reduction of 69% - it should come as no surprise to anyone that this proposal will be vehemently resisted by wildfowlers

    We fully welcome Mr Bielinski’s statement that the RSPB will work with local wildfowlers to deliver our joint objectives. We would however point out to Mr Bielinski that compromise is a two way street and that so far RSPB actions seem much more those of a large organisation determined to have its own way over local interests than those of a willing suitor. We are in fact led to believe, by neighbouring landowners, that the RSPB are in fact actively seeking to acquire further land with a view to further restricting access to the foreshore.

    Wildfowling interests have made several compromise proposals over the last few months, none have been acceptable to the RSPB. The latest approach made by BASC on March 9th is reported to have been rejected “out of hand”, we have yet to the best of my knowledge to receive any counterproposals whatsoever from the RSPB or indeed any invitation, or indication of willingness to engage directly with wildfowling interests

  6. #6
    Typical rspb and local authority

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