South Scotland Labour MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Economy Spokesperson Colin Smyth has called on the Scottish Government to back the proposed community land buyout of part of Langholm Moor.

One of Scotland’s largest landowners, the Duke of Buccleuch and family, is in advanced talks with a community group over what could be the biggest community land buyout in the south of Scotland.

Buccleuch announced its decision to sell 25,000 acres of the famous Langholm Moor last year and it is now in advanced discussions with the Langholm Initiative, a charity based in the town, over the potential sale of an area covering almost 10,500 acres. The land has been valued at just over £6m.

Colin Smyth said: “If this deal goes ahead, it will allow the Langholm community to decide its own future and the Scottish Government must throw its support behind the plan.

“This really would bring significant benefits to the Eskdale community and a local economy which has suffered a number of economic shocks in recent years.

“It would open up new opportunities for eco-tourism, attracting visitors to the area and it would boost the local environment by better promoting and protecting a site of special scientific interest.

“The positive difference community ownership has made in other parts of our region in terms of jobs and opening up access are there for all to see and we would see those same benefits if Buccleuch facilitated the ultimate transfer to the community of Langholm Moor.

“Far too much of Scotland’s land is still in the hands of far too few. A community buy out would not only put ownership in the hands of the community but would safeguard our natural and cultural heritage for the benefit of local people.”

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