Wildfowling mediation to begin

Findhorn Bay (pic: Patsy Goodsir)

Moray Council has appointed a mediator to try to resolve the long-running saga of conflict surrounding wildfowling in Findhorn Bay.

Councillors agreed in June to bring in an external mediator after it emerged that only 23 voluntary wildfowling permits were applied for in the 2017/18 season.

With this now in place, work will begin immediately to encourage all interested parties to reach an agreement. It’s expected that the first meeting of the group will take place within the next fortnight, with an update reported back to councillors once the negotiations have concluded.

Leader of Moray Council, and Chair of its Economic Development & Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, said he was confident that impartial mediation would provide the opportunity for honest and open-minded dialogue between the parties involved: “I’d encourage participants to actively take part in the discussion and I hope that progress can be made through these negotiations. What’s best for the nature reserve is of paramount importance and should remain at the forefront of any decision-making.

“It’s now for the group to take ownership of these discussions and work together towards a solution.”

Jeremy Scuse of Catalyst Mediation, who the council has appointed to assist the negotiation, said: “Clearly Moray Council would prefer that all users of the nature reserve were able to work together voluntarily in the Reserve’s best interests.

“There is a voluntary wildfowling permit scheme in place that has been criticised, and my role is to help the interested parties reach a workable agreement so that everyone can enjoy the bay.”