Langholm Initiative has launched a £3.4 million crowdfunding campaign to buy 10,500 acres of land in Southern Scotland. It would be the biggest community land buyout to create a natural reserve in Dumfries and Galloway. Kevin Cumming, Langholm Initiative’s project leader said: «At a time of climate emergency, we are committing to undertake direct climate action».
To restore peatlands and ancient woodlands
Langholm, a once-thriving textile centre, has seen its industry decline in recent years. But yet, the people of this small town have a deep connection to the land. The charity Langholm Initiative wants to purchase the biggest community land buyout and create the Tarras Valley nature reserve.
Nonetheless, it is not the first remarkable conservationist project in Scotland.
The community wants to seize this once in a lifetime opportunity to have control over their own future. They hope that through community land ownership, through Langholm Initiative, and the creation of a nature reserve, they will promote regeneration and bring visitors.
Buccleuch Estates, one of the biggest landowners in Scotland, announced its decision to sell about 25,000 acres of its Borders Estate last year. The charity wants to purchase over 10,000 acres.
Scotland has a problem that most of its land is owned by very few wealthy individuals and this causes many problems for rural communities.
With the land jointly valued at just over £6m, The Langholm Initiative has also applied to the Scottish Land Fund for £3.4m towards the purchase. They expect to generate the other half of the purchase price with the crowdfunding campaign.
The project has received widespread support due to its positive goals of tackling climate change, boosting nature restoration and supporting community regeneration. John Muir Trust announced it is donating £100,000 to kickstart the appeal.
Langholm Moor is a special place populated with some of our rarest and most beautiful wildlife. Therefore, Langholm Initiative will promote eco-tourism in the area alongside education programs.
«The people of Langholm are hoping to lead by example»
Kevin Cumming said: «The people of Langholm are hoping to lead by example. It will show that you can make the environment the foundation for building a better future for our children».
Also, the charity has proposed the installation of wind and solar renewable energy technology. Although a wind turbine may generate a mayor income, solar farms offer the least risk of refusal.
Just the solar projects proposed could create clean energy for up to 2,500 households.
«Our community plans here have international significance. At a time of climate emergency, we are committing to undertake direct climate action».
«Langholm Moor is home to a host of iconic wildlife such as black grouse, short eared owls and merlin, and is a stronghold for hen harriers – the most persecuted bird of prey in the UK».
Mike Daniels, from the John Muir Trust, encourages people to collaborate in biggest community land buyout to create a natural reserve. He said: “We are extremely excited about this project. Its ambition and vision are what has attracted us to it, and today we are pledging £100K to support the community’s purchase of the land».
Langholm Initiative expects to complete this ambitious crowdfunding at the end of the year. «At this critical stage, we are asking for the help of the public. We know it’s a big ask at a time like this – but if people can support us by donating to this project we will be ensuring a more positive future for our children».