Alex Thomson, Chief Correspondent at Channel 4 News is on a bit of a roll.
In May he did a cracking report on the illegal persecution of birds of prey on grouse moors across North Yorkshire (see here).
Yesterday he did a cracking report about why the Langholm community is having to raise £6 million to turn a knackered grouse moor in to a nature reserve.
You can watch the seven minute film here and it really is worth your time.
Here’s how Alex describes the film on the Channel 4 News website:
‘You could call it a highly ambitious grassroots project – a group of Scottish villagers in Dumfries and Galloway is hoping to raise more than six million pounds to turn the UK’s most famous grouse moor into a new ten thousand acre nature reserve.
The land currently belongs to the Duke of Buccleuch, the second largest private landowner in Britain.
This scheme has revealed how far the vestiges of feudal land ownership are still very much alive today‘.
Once you’ve watched the film, which features a cameo role for land reform campaigner and Scottish Greens MSP Andy Wightman, you might want to have a read of this blog (here) written by Andy back in 2014. It puts the current situation into context, somewhat.
Regular blog readers will already know about the Langholm Initiative’s crowdfunding campaign to try and raise the money to buy this tiny piece of Buccleuch’s massive estate (e.g. see here, here, here, here, here and here). There was also an interesting article published in The National last month by Dr Lesley Riddoch (see here).
If you want to contribute to the crowdfunder please click here.
9 thoughts on “Channel 4 News does Langholm buyout”
Nice to see and interviewer asking some decent, tough questions for a change . Well done C4 and good luck to the Langholm buyout. It’s be nice to see similar happening south of the border.
Scots gov squandered millions on the Ulva buyout. Ulva was pretty much wild under private ownership by an extremely environmentally sympathetic owner. Ulva is difficult to access which makes planned developments and farming by the new community unsustainable.
That money could have been used for Langholm.
Nice to see them being put on the spot, Greed at its best! Well done C4.
I had to laugh. The Duke’s spokesperson Benny Higgins, the Executive Chairman of the Buccleuch says the Duke is refusing to speak to C4 News, because the Duke has stepped back from the running of the business i.e. he’s retired, and it’s he who’s now running the business and he’s the right person to speak to. But when Alex Thomson asks Benny Higgins questions, he says he’ll have to speak to the Duke and refuses to explain how an interview can be arranged. In other words the usual chicanery by Britain’s landowning mafia, where no one has any responsibility for anything, but they own and control everything.
Having only received a third of the grant that they had hoped for, they were then told to raise the rest by October. No pressure then! Almost as if the Duke didn’t really want them to buy it.
The film mentions that an extension to that date has been given but fails to tell us the new date. Hopefully it is now more reasonable. I do so hope they get this land back and that more land can be made available for communities to manage. One only has to look to Carrifran to see what it could become.
The Duke could also afford to give them a generous mortgage to spread the cost of the buyout.
The question of the acquisition of Common Land by the likes of Buccleuch needs to be investigated. These lands belonged to the people in the towns and villages of Scotland only to be “acquired” by wealthy individuals. This is still happening as land owned by Sanquhar Common Good was “accidentally sold” by Buccleuch Estates.
How can they take these lands and then sell them back to the local people?
Such a shame Birdfair isn’t on this year. I imagine a lot of people would have rattled collection tins for the buyout.