Wednesday, 3 September 2008

MCoS Statement on Alladale

Robin across at BlogPackingLight pointed me to the Mountaineering Council of Scotland's recent position statement on the Alladale Project (pdf link). They conclude that:

The member organisations of this group find this unofficial, but well-publicised project, as unacceptable as stated. We call for a recognition that the unnatural density, probable artificial feeding and commercial nature shows that this project is a safari park, which would require a zoo licence, and hence is completely different from what it is promoted as which is a re-wilding project. A full project study should be undertaken, followed by an environmental statement stating the legal basis on which this project will be based.

And here's a link to the YouTube version

I wrote some notes earlier on the recent programme shown on the BBC, and then immediately repeated after the 6 episodes were finished showing on BBC Scotland. I didn't post anything about later episodes as I really could not be bothered reporting on the one-sided shallow programme. It was not a documentary. I don't know what it was other than merely following around people on the estate. No attempt was made to do any follow up. Unlike "Trawlermen", the estate and Mr Lister's project is not a sealed bubble, but the programme may have given that impression.

Overall, I find it intriguing that the Scottish Government does not get involved when its own access laws are being challenged, and seems to just wait for people to raise objections, despite the publicity. I find it ludicrous that the MCoS or the Ramblers' Association get involved in court cases when it is the rights of people in Scotland that are being challenged. Maybe I'm missing the point, but isn't that what our government is for?


Dawn said...

That guy has done a lot of good, however, the indications are that they have been done with an ulterior goal. The proposed wild life safari park. That is basically what all the talk concerning the fence, re introduction of species etc boils down to. Money, paying guests to visit and stay at his lodge and so forth. My concern is that money so often talks and this guy is throwing big money at these proposals. By the by how much do good quality wire cutters cost?

AktoMan said...

Some otters (1 or 2) escaped in the last couple of years and it made the local news as the camera viewed the damage they did.

I can and will not condone illegal action. If the fence has planning permission and consent of the council, then it is legal. Any attempt at damaging it or circumventing it by people is unlawful and they deserve to have the full force of the law brought down on them. And vice versa.

In the programme, the estate manager pointed out that one office of the council granted them a wild (dangerous?) animal licence for the boars, whilst another stated that the populus had to have access to the boar enclosure. From an outsider's viewpoint there just doesn't seem to be a joined-up approach from the authorities.

Scotland can be open for business without her laws being seen as an obstacle to business.

I can't help but wonder what consultations were sought or given to the estate about the laws.

Alan Sloman said...

I totally agree with you Duncan: What on earth are the 'Authorities' doing? The taxpayers pay their salaries so that the taxpayers' interests are proetected and the law of the land upheld.

So why does it take non governmental bodies to have to oppose the unlawful scheme?

Everyone should get on to their SMP's and get them to look at this now!

But there again, Trump's Golf Course was rejected by the local council and so the Big Political Cheese had the leader of the council removed and the objection overturned.

I wonder if Lister's Millions count as much as Trump's?

Chris Townsend said...

Lister has not yet applied to build his fence, he has merely talked about it - a lot. There is nothing for any authorities to take action about. It's not illegal for him to talk about wanting to build a fence.

I don't think there was any lack of a joined-up approach about the current enclosure. The Access Legislation doesn't prevent landowners applying to put up fences, it just says that if they do then access provision must be made. What has happened was fully in accord with the law. The problem Lister has with the big fence is that he doesn't want to provide access through it - why should people pay if they can walk in for free? However until he actually applies to build it there won't be any official response. In the meantime what is important is to counter Lister's PR.

The Trump Golf Course decision has not been reached yet. It went to a Public Enquiry which has still to publish its findings.

Duncan/Aktoman said...

Thanks for the info, Chris. So the fence in the tv programme that the cheery chappy with the bling was building wasn't the "big fence". Merely a fence. A different fence.

I lose track. Do you know if there is a website somewhere that has all the information about the stages of the development?

Chris Townsend said...

Duncan, I'm afraid I don't know of any websites that have all the information. Even the Alladale site isn't clear. However so far only small enclosures for boar and elk have been fenced and these don't have any real effect on access. The main 30-odd mile fence is still just an idea. People visit Alladale regularly and report on developments so we will quickly know if anything happens. The next step would be for Lister to apply a licence for his whole estate with a view to fencing it. Apart from the access legislation one problem he has here is that under a zoo licence he can't keep predators and prey together so a zoo licence is no use. In fact as far as I know there is no legal way of keeping predators and prey in an enclosed area.

Simon said...

The most up to date pictures I know of of the fence. No not the fence, the fence:

AktoMan said...

Thanks again, Chris. I'll need to head out that way and have a bimble before whatever plan goes ahead.

Simon, these photos are amazing. It just reminds me of this