Local community and wildlife organisations have come together to call for one of Ayrshire’s most important wildlife sites to be protected. The groups are asking for the Garnock Estuary to be urgently designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its importance for nature, as well as growing threats from development.
The Garnock Estuary is a unique mosaic of dunes, grassland, woodlands, scrub and wetlands. Although it has been modified by the site’s complex industrial past, it remains an incomparable haven for wildlife, including species that have been lost across much of the landscape.
A letter has been sent to the Chief Executive of Scottish Government agency NatureScot asking for the area to be given protected status. The move is supported by independent wildlife experts and former senior statutory agency officers and highlights the urgent need for designation.
A report by the Ardeer Action Group (a coalition of wildlife organisations and representatives from the local community) shows that the Garnock Estuary is of national importance for nature and home to:
However, this rich diversity of life is under-threat from a Special Development Order dating back to 1953. This means that planning permission is not required for development and activities which would require consent almost anywhere else in Scotland.
The site is already suffering from ongoing sand extraction which is damaging its unique dune habitats. With a number of large and potentially damaging developments proposed, including housing, golf courses, and even a nuclear fusion plant, time is running out to save one of Scotland’s most fascinating wildlife sites.
Posted On: 27/07/2022