South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport & Rural Affairs Colin Smyth has urged people to get behind Langholm Initiative’s fundraising efforts to extend the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve through the purchase of more of the Moor from Buccleuch Estates.
The fundraising deadline for a bid to double the size of the south of Scotland’s biggest community land buyout has been extended.
The Langholm Initiative completed a £3.8m deal with Buccleuch last year for more than 5,000 acres in the area.
It now hopes to raise another £2.2m to buy a similar sized slice of land as part of its plans for a nature reserve.
It had been set a 31 May deadline to gather the funds, but that has now been extended to 31 July.
Colin Smyth said: “The Initiative managed to raise an amazing £3.8m to successfully buy 5,200 acres and the team has exciting plans for the future of the moor.
“Langholm Initiative really hit the road running with their ambitions to realise the massive potential the Reserve has. The last two years have been tough for everyone but one of the local lights at the end of the tunnel has been the drive by Langholm Initiative to take forward plans for the nature reserve.
“They are now working to raise an extra £2.2m to buy a further 5,300 and I would urge people to become part of the next stage of the community buy out by donating whatever they can.
“The first buy-out was a truly outstanding achievement by the team behind the bid and fantastic for the Eskdale community. This was the South of Scotland’s largest ever buyout and the community of Langholm really are history makers. But we can and should go further.
“We cannot underestimate the positive impact this has on the local economy through eco-tourism and the boost it gives to the local environment through better protection and enhancement of a site of special scientific interest.
“I hope a deal can be done to bring the whole target site under the ownership of the community. The second part is more remote and would open up even more opportunities.
“Too much of our land is still in the hands of far too few but thanks to this deal, we have made a small step in the direction of righting that wrong and I’m really excited by the aim to go even further. While I hope the target to raise the funds is met, if it isn’t, I hope Buccleuch will consider lowering their asking price and put the community before their profits.”