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Musicians back valley shooting campaign

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By Donald Turvill
Annan and Eskdale
Musicians back valley shooting campaign

ROCK band Placebo are urging their fans to get behind a petition to stop two shooting ranges being established a stone’s throw from Eskdalemuir’s Kagyu Samye Ling monastery — and have called the ongoing dispute been the valley’s residents and developers a “David and Goliath story”.

The London-based duo of Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal — whose notable hits include Every You Every Me and a cover of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill — shared a post on social media this week drawing followers’ attention to two planning applications for high-velocity ranges in the area.

The proximity of the two sites to the temple has sparked fears that tranquility will be lost to gunfire, a reality reportedly already experienced by the monastery’s community, who say they’ve heard “more and more” shoots nearby in recent years.

The band’s plea — liked more than 3000 times — introduced Samye Ling’s Abbot, Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, who recently urged the council’s planning department “not to let these firing ranges be so close to our monastery and to move them somewhere else”.

Typed in all capital letters, the post said: “He is one of the 300 Buddhist monks to flee Tibet after the Chinese invasion, making the life-threatening journey across the Himalayas to safety in Dharamsala.

“Less than 20 made it there alive. He would soon establish the first Buddhist monastery in Europe, Samye Ling in Scotland.

“Today the sanctity, serenity and safety of Samye Ling is under threat from the US Army special forces, who intend to use an area adjacent to the monastery specifically for target practice.

“This is a ‘David and Goliath’ story and we desperately need your help. Please sign the petition and help us protect the monastery, its inhabitants and the surrounding wildlife.”

This week the petition reached 18,000 signatures, putting Dumfries and Galloway Council under mounting pressure to reconsider the ranges at Over Cassock Farm and Clerkhill — the latter of which has drawn interest from an international shooting competition and the US Army.

If successful, it will make way for public consultations and closer scrutiny of the controversial plans — a process that those in opposition to hope can lead to a rejection of both.

Eskdalemuir Community Council said in a statement this week that the council’s planning department initially told them that both would be treated as major developments, however, this has not been the case.

Nicholas Jennings, the group’s chair, commented: “It is completely unreasonable for huge rifle ranges to be set up and run without planning permission and then to try to get consent later without any consultation with residents.

“The character of this area should be cherished – it is certainly no place for these kinds of deeply unwelcome activities.”

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