Draft plan complete
After 12 months of consultation, beginning at the Angus Show in Brechin last summer, the South Esk Catchment Partnership has now completed the draft of the South Esk Catchment Management Plan. The draft plan aims to ensure the future protection and enhancement of the River South Esk and its catchment, with the draft reflecting issues raised during the consultation process.
The first stage in this process was to ask the public what they think are the key environmental, social and economic issues affecting the River South Esk and its catchment, via a questionnaire.
As part of the consultation process, in November 2008, two public meetings were held in Memus and Brechin to discuss the Issues Document, which was the second stage in the development of the South Esk Catchment Management plan. "Over 70 people came along to these meetings, which shows that people are really interested in the management of the River South Esk," said Karen Phillip, the independent Project Officer who is overseeing the development of the Catchment Management Plan.
Karen revealed that the draft contains 65 actions which aim to alleviate many of the issues raised during the consultation process. The draft's proposals include:
- Reducing sediment and nutrient inputs and increasing flood storage by encouraging buffer strip and wetland creation through funding applications to the new Scottish Rural Development Programme;
- Promoting alternative methods of water storage for use in times of drought;
- Developing restoration proposals for engineered rivers;
- Co-ordinating an eradication programme for invasive weeds such as giant hogweed.
The draft is now undergoing a nine-week consultation period and has been posted out to almost 250 land owners, land managers and organisations with an interest in the South Esk catchment, including recreational clubs, angling groups and schools. The draft can also be downloaded at http://www.angusahead.com/southesk and is available at libraries, museums and Access offices within the catchment.
Consultation on the draft is the third stage in the development of the River South Esk Catchment Management Plan. The final stage – the launch of the plan - is due by December 2009 and Karen stressed that everyone with an interest in the waters of the South Esk catchment should participate in the final stages of the consultation by phoning, writing, emailing or faxing her – or by attending one of the open meetings which are taking place in August.
"Public involvement is vital," said Karen. "This plan will ensure the South Esk remains a valuable, useful and beautiful asset to the county of Angus. However, we need to ensure that everyone who has an interest in the River South Esk - whether they live near the river, farm alongside the river or spend their leisure time on the river - is able to contribute to the development of this plan, which is why we have arranged two further meetings in Memus and Brechin."
The draft South Esk Catchment Management Plan meetings will be held from 7pm - 9pm on Wednesday, 12th August in Memus Village Hall, by Kirriemuir, and Thursday 13th August in the Northern Hotel, Brechin.