There are many stories and news items on land relations in Scotland that I do not cover on this blog. I have decided that I should and so, in addition to the normal researched analysis and opinion pieces, I will now be running more frequent straight informative news stories documenting issues that are of interest. This is the first.

Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) has hit the headlines in recent months. The above map (larger 3.3Mb version here) shows a number of sites that have been given planning consent on Buccleuch Estates land around Canonbie.  A local campaign (Canonbie Residents Against Coal Developments) has been set up. Here is their first newsletter.

The national campaign is Frack off Scotland.


  1. It does seem a pity that coal is now such a dirty word.
    In the old days the Canonbie coal field would have been mined in the traditional fashion, being one of the largest unexploited coal fields in the UK. Yes, there would have been subsidence but less potential underground pollution. And Longannet could have been supplied from local coal for the remainder of it working life and there might even have been sufficient profit to revive carbon sequestration.

  2. Coal mining is significantly affected by GLOBAL costs. Scottish Coal recently collapsed, with an immediate loss of 600 jobs. This was the last Scottish-owned mining company in the country. In December 2012 ATH , another mining company collapsed, leaving a devastated community in New Cumnock, and a vast opencast site not re-instated. The town subsequently won last year’s “Carbuncle” award “the Plook on the Plinth” as Scotland’s most dismal town, and as ever it was an exploited community who suffered.
    Canonbie is a pleasant rural village,on a salmon-rich river, and currently attracts visitors & Tourists. Any potential opencast jobs would need to be balanced against other significant job losses, and negative economic impacts. Good ‘old days’ – NO THANKS.

  3. Andy, this is a real public service, to pass on and publicise the fracking issue, which is of course a land issue, as well. Well done.

  4. We at Canonbie are delighted that Buccleuch/Dart’s plans to exploit Canonbie are finally being critically examined. However, the coalbed methane extraction will not (at least at first) involve hydraulic fracking, but the drilling operations at more than 20 sites will turn the area into an industrialised gasfield, to the huge detriment of Canonbie and surrounding rural communities. Of course this is just the beginning, as Buccleuch has plans to develop opencast mining in the area, and has invested heavily in Five-Quarter, a company developing Underground Coal Gasification- and yes, it is as horrible as it sounds!
    Local Conservative MP, David Mundell, together with Buccleuch, now organising a private meeting with local CCs and Elected members. Public not invited. So much for transparency, and openness from the developers !