Press release from The Langholm Initiative (9th September 2020)
£1M capital investment from South of Scotland Enterprise for community moorland buyout
South of Scotland Enterprise’s Board has announced up to £1 million financial support to the Langholm Initiative charity in its venture to purchase part of Langholm Moor from Buccleuch Estates.
The Langholm Initiative is spearheading a campaign to raise enough funds to buy the land and bring it into community control. If successful, the buyout by the small town of Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway will be the first large-scale purchase of this type in the South of Scotland.
The buyout at Langholm has garnered significant support both from the local community and further afield, with nearly 2,500 people donating £200,000.
Community ownership of Langholm Moor would enable the Langholm Initiative to develop a new National Nature Reserve and capture ongoing revenue from the asset, as well as providing a platform to unlock further community-led enterprise development and job creation. It would provide significant social, environmental and economic benefits to the area.
[Langholm Moor. Photo by David Lintern]
Kevin Cumming, project leader at the Langholm Initiative, said: “This generous support is a major step towards a successful outcome for the community. We have been working closely with South of Scotland Enterprise over recent weeks, and couldn’t be happier with their commitment to support the people of Langholm.
“We still have a race against time to find the rest of the funding required for a purchase to take place. We are investigating every possible option to ensure the buyout is a success.”
Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise, said: “We are delighted to support The Langholm Initiative project, and recognise that our significant contribution will be a tremendous step toward reaching their ambitious funding package.
“As the new economic development agency for the South of Scotland, our plans to further the region’s economic, social and environmental development are at the heart of everything we do, and helping communities to take advantage of the opportunities community asset transfer offers is one the objectives set out for us in the legislation that put us in place.
“Community ownership is a catalytic step in community development and empowerment as it enables communities to make decisions about how assets within their communities are used. The successful acquisition of Langholm Moor represents a long-term economic, social and natural capital development project, and we look forward to working with the Langholm Initiative as the situation develops.“
The Langholm Initiative was formed in 1994, as one of south Scotland’s earliest development trusts. The charity is seeking other major funders for the land buyout. To find out more and to support the crowdfunding appeal, visit langholminitiative.org.uk. Follow on Twitter at @LBuyout.
South of Scotland Enterprise is the economic and community development agency for the South of Scotland. See www.southofscotlandenterprise.com
These latest funds bring the total amount raised to date to approx £2.8 Million. Approx £6 Million is needed.
Scottish Land Fund: £1M
South of Scotland Enterprise: £1M
John Muir Trust: £100k
Carman Family Foundation: £500k
Public donations (inc crowdfunding): £200k approx
For previous blogs on the Langholm buyout see here, here, here, here, here here here here
10 thoughts on “Langholm Moor buyout one step closer”
The bottom half of the picture looks like how all current grouse moors should look…..
Scottish Land Fund gave £4.4 million for the Ulva buy out. As i understand it the land Fund is supposed to be limited to £1 million so if this is true why did the Ulva get such a massive amount? More importantly why can’t Langholm get it?
The Ulva buy out made no sense environmentally or socially (jobs/housing). Ulva is in very good environmental condition, very few jobs will be created, it is doubtful whether anyone can live there without government support and without increased pressure on the environment. The Ulva community vote was limited to only one section of Mull because the very local woodland community (at that time a very local commercial forest community) admitted that they wanted to increase their chances of a positive outcome. The rest of Mull did not get a vote. The local view was that this was heavily influenced by the SNP and although i have no evidence of that, i don’t see how else the £1 million limit was broken. If it can be broken once it can be bent twice.
It is really upsetting to see money wasted on Ulva which could have gone to Langholm. With that money Langholm would be secure right now!
The amount of money that gets generally misspent in rural Scotland is shocking, clearly it’s good just to be seen throwing money at certain things in the countryside. A while back there was a discussion on the Rewilding Scotland fb page about the grants that a certain scheme gave to farmers to create woodland about twenty years ago by providing for fencing and planting trees. Many of the original enclosures were left to fall to pieces and the trees get eaten by sheep and deer, once the farmers did what they had to to get the grant the trees were abandoned. It would be great if there was a follow up survey to determine just how prevalent this was, I suspect it was pretty much the standard.
Definitely a lot of tick-boxing going on but that is pretty understandable when all the agencies have been stripped bare to skeleton staff.
Where i live there was a native woodland plantation on moorland. It was refused by the previous SNH administrator (who is an excellent botanist) on the grounds that it was too high and exposed. They re-applied and were excepted when she retired. Years later even after re-stocking the failures it still didn’t have enough viable trees so the project was abandoned and i think the estate had to pay back the grant. I know that sometimes they just let them off because the environment was not right etc.
What bugs me is that plantation mentioned did have plenty of viable trees when it was abandoned and would certainly have produced lots of successful pockets if the fence had been maintained and they would have spread and rewilded. Instead the fences are falling apart, the Red Deer are free to enter and the trees are unlikely to survive because not only do the deer graze the trees but they can destroy them just by rubbing. Sheep can also enter at will. It strikes me as an incredible waste of money. It would be a simple thing to have come to some sort of compromise to keep the fence intact.
Anand, unless I originally got the wrong end of the stick, it seemed that they had expected £3 million and were surprised that they didn’t get it. I think public donations would be higher if people thought they had a chance, as it is, it seems they have until the end of October or they get nothing.
Having said that, it does appear £1 million is the norm.
Can anybody advise?
‘it seemed that they had expected £3 million and were surprised that they didn’t get it’
Yes i heard that too. Conflicting rumours, sorry, i can’t help.
Another rumour buzzing around at the time of the Ulva buy out was that they were running low on funds.
It would be interesting to know what amount would be shown in a commercial valuation of the land. Is the Duke of B trying to exploit the community is asking for £6 million? In any case, it would be usual business practice to make an offer, rather than pay the asking price.
I have heard that Buccleuch Estate is selling off many of their cottages that have been rented, or tied to workers. These are said to be in need of work doing to them. People living in them have been evicted in some cases. Accommodation on the estate is also being rented out on AirBnB. It looks as though the Duke of B is needing to raise some cash.
I left a comment on Mark Avery’s blog that while this was good news it leaves a bad taste in the mouth that any fundraising is necessary, the land should be gifted to the community. Perhaps running parallel to the fundraising there could be a campaign to get Buccleuch estates to lower the asking price or drop it altogether. It would be sickening if the brilliant people who have brought this so far failed at the last hurdle, one they shouldn’t have at all.
Hear hear. Spot on sir.
Off topic I know, but the Campaign for the protection of Mindless Criminals are concocting more libellous falsehoods. Desperately trying to connect people with fracking interests.