Conflict over quarry lake plan

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) proposals to form a nature reserve at the Lafarge North West Quarry near Dunbar could fall through if the quarry lake is used for water sports.

This was revealed at the monthly meeting of Dunbar Community Council where a lively discussion took place about the future use of the Quarry lake.

RSPB will not support the lake, if water sports are to be allowed, as their proposal is for a nature reserve.

The community council had supported this proposal which had been accepted as the preferred option for some time.

However, Steve Hanmer from Dunbar Sea Cadets, attended the meeting and informed members, that he wishes the lake to be used for water sports, as there were no decent sailing lakes for his group to use in the area.

He stated that he felt the boats would not disturb the birds as they would not be there every day and would not be motorised.

Mr Hanmer would seek grants to fund his project, but did not yet have a business plan to demonstrate his proposal to either the community council or Lafarge.

Councillor Norman Hampshire stated that the public should have been consulted over the best use of the lake while Councillor Paul McLennan reminded members that Lafarge are the landowners and it would be up to them to choose it’s final use.

Councillor McLennan further advised that RSPB are prepared to fund maintenance only if they secure exclusive use of the site as they do not feel it is large enough for dual purpose, which always led to a significant reduction in variety and number of species. He explained that the final decision rests with the landowner, Lafarge, who are close to signing a memorandum of agreement with RSPB.

It was further noted any development would not be forthcoming for a period of between five to ten years, as the area is a working quarry.

Lafarge have asked RSPB Scotland to provide a briefing note on the specific reasons why it can not support a dual purpose site and this will be sent to all community councils. Councillor McLennan added that Lafarge have been open in their discussions for the use of the lake.

The sailing idea has only recently been put forward and needs a business plan, before Lafarge would consider the idea.

Community council chairman Stephen Bunyan stated that if the RSPB walked away from the project another body would have to be found to manage the area. It was suggested that a public exhibition showing the plans for the lake would be helpful and Lafarge are to be asked to arrange one.