Stirling SNP MP, Steven Paterson, has demanded that the Leader of the Tory/Labour Administration on Stirling Council finally respond to a Council decision made more than two years ago.
In June 2014, Stirling Council voted unanimously to instruct officials to investigate the feasibility of designating Gillies Hill as a Local Nature Reserve. This decision was followed up by a further such motion in December 2014.
Gillies Hill is a site of both natural significance and historical heritage. As an ancient woodland, it is home to a diverse array of wildlife, and is believed to be the site where Robert the Bruce stationed his Ghillies ahead of the Battle of Bannockburn.
Quarrying on the site finished in the early 1990s, however a recently application to restart quarrying on Gillies Hill has been taken to the Scottish Government Reporter for consideration due to non-determination by Stirling Council.
In a letter to Mr Paterson, the Council Leader confirmed that little progress has been made in assessing designating all or part of Gillies Hill as a Local Nature Reserve – which would protect the site from quarrying activity. Mr Paterson has since made a formal complaint to the Council Governance Officer, and is now demanding that the required information be brought to the full Council at the earliest opportunity.
Steven Paterson commented:
“Gillies Hill is an area of outstanding natural beauty, historical and cultural importance, and is a well-used community resource. The danger of destruction the renewed threat of quarrying poses is wholly unacceptable and Stirling Council should be considering all options to protect this area from further quarrying, but has failed to even to the work required of it by councillors in a decision taken over two years ago.
“The Council can use powers it has through the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 to designate all or part of the Gillies Hill a Local Nature Reserve, which would protect it from quarrying. Two years ago when a councillor on this local authority, I received unanimous cross-party support for a motion requiring an appraisal of options and associated costs to be brought to the next council meeting for consideration – two years on this has not been enacted.
“Stirling Council’s inaction to date is deeply disappointing, and as well as formally complaining that a formal council decision has apparently been ignored, I am now calling for an assurance from the Council Leader that the appropriate information will be brought forward at the next available opportunity so that it can be properly considered.”