In December 2015, Friends of Findhorn Bay submitted an 811 signature petition calling for a ban on all shooting in Findhorn Bay. Since then we have sat through two separate attempts at compromise talks instigated by Moray Council, both of which have ended in failure. The first mediated meeting, in June 2016, ended in an agreement to introduce very limited shooting restrictions, without a permit system. This was denounced by BASC, who refused to go along with it on the grounds that they had not been consulted and they found it too convoluted.
So back to square one and in 2016 enter Roy Dennis, the recently appointed Chair of the LNR committee, who agreed to take on the unenviable task of trying to find middle ground between the four shooting groups involved (that is BASC and SACS at national level, and FNDWA and FBSCA at local level). Mr Dennis also consulted representatives from FFB and local ornithologists and conservationists, since it’s not all about what the shooters want, is it? Out of these various meetings he crafted a shooting permit system, which included limits on numbers of visiting shooters, no shooting on Mondays as well as Sundays and no shooting in certain eastern areas of the Bay in December, January and February, for wildlife conservation reasons.
FFB went along with this proposal on the understanding that it was a one year trial only, simply in order to bring at least some improvement for the next season. However, we communicated to Mr Dennis that the voluntary system did not go far enough in terms of preventing, or at least limiting, early morning noise disturbance, or in limiting the overall number of shooters at any given time, among other things. Unfortunately, this time it was SACS which said that it would not go along with the permit system, because in its opinion the voluntary system went too far…
What this meant in practice is that only around 20 shooters applied for shooting permits online at http://fblnr.org/wildfowling/ for the 2017-18 shooting season. Hence, last season we endured the same intolerable situation as before, i.e. unregulated shooting at any time of the day or night in all areas of the Bay apart from the existing no shoot zone by Findhorn village. Local people continue to be woken up by shooters’ vehicles parking in the vicinity or their homes as early at 4am, followed by shotgun noise from around 5am, which disturbs and wakes people living in Kinloss and Findhorn… How can early morning noise disturbance like this be acceptable on any day of the week?
Local residents are in effect being held to ransom by the disagreement amongst the shooting groups – what about local residents’ right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes and to be able to use their local nature reserve all year round? The reserve is supposed to be a public amenity after all, for the enjoyment of everyone. Not to mention for the benefit of wildlife and to aid conservation. The clue is in the name “nature reserve”, surely?
In June 2018, the Economic Development & Infrastructure Services Committee of Moray Council again recommended that ‘interested parties’ get together with an experienced mediator, to attempt to agree yet another voluntary agreement, because there is still no cash (for which read: no political will) for a legally binding byelaw to stop the shooting. Steering group members of Friends of Findhorn Bay will continue to attend these meetings (starting in September 2018) in order to make sure that the concerns of local residents are properly represented.
We, the residents of Kinloss, Findhorn and the other residential areas around the Bay must continue to make our voices heard and our wishes and needs clear. The Council is expecting these ‘interested parties’ to solve this intractable problem, which, after 40+ years of agro and two recent, failed, mediation attempts already behind us, appears to us to be a total abdication of their responsibility to you, the local residents, to find a workable solution from their position of authority. The Ward 8 Councillors are supposed to be representing YOU, the wider population, not just a small bunch of very vocal and pushy people, who get their kicks from killing wild birds, often leaving them injured or maimed or dead around the Bay, and regularly littering the Bay with their spent cartridges and wads.
Your Ward 8 Councillors details can be found here. Click on the photo to get the Councillor’s email address. Please drop them a line if you are affected by the shooting and let them know how you would like things to change. You can also let us know via our Contact Us page.