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Dalbeattie campus gets £25m go-ahead

Plans went on display earlier this year. Credit: ITV Border

The construction of a £25 million Dalbeattie Learning Campus has moved a step closer.

Funding for the scheme had been held up because of a European ruling, but the Scottish Government says that has now been resolved.

New £21m Kelso school finally gets go-ahead

An artist's impression of the new school. Credit: Scottish Borders Council

The building of a new £21.4 million school in Kelso has been given the go-ahead, and is expected to begin in early 2016.

Kelso High School will be built at Nethershot on Angraflat Road.

The project had stalled because of a European ruling, which affected ten schools and two health centres across the country.

But the Scottish Government now says that has been resolved.

I am pleased that the issues which have held back the new Kelso High School have finally been settled.

It has been a frustrating period for everyone associated with the school including the wider community, and the people of Kelso should be thanked for their patience during this time.

The new school will include grass and synthetic sports pitches and community facilities, which will provide health and educational benefits for not just generations of schoolchildren but the whole town.”

– Councillor Sandy Aitchison, Scottish Borders Council

Scotland to ban growing of genetically modified crops

Genetically modified crops will be banned in Scotland Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Growing genetically modified crops is to be banned in Scotland, the Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced.

Mr Lochhead has confirmed that the Scottish Government intends to take advantage of new EU rules allowing countries to opt out of growing EU-authorised GM crops.

The Scottish Government will shortly submit a request that Scotland is excluded from any European consents for the cultivation of GM crops, including the variety of genetically modified maize already approved and six other GM crops that are awaiting authorisation.

The Cabinet Secretary said:

“Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment - and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status. “There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector. “Scottish food and drink is valued at home and abroad for its natural, high quality which often attracts a premium price, and I have heard directly from food and drink producers in other countries that are ditching GM because of a consumer backlash. “That is why I strongly support the continued application of the precautionary principle in relation to GM crops and intend to take full advantage of the flexibility allowed under these new EU rules to ban GM crops from being grown in Scotland. “The Scottish Government has long-standing concerns about GM crops - concerns that are shared by other European countries and consumers, and which should not be dismissed lightly. “I firmly believe that GM policy in Scotland should be guided by what's best for our economy and our own agricultural sector rather than the priorities of others. I recently kicked off a national discussion on the future of Scottish agriculture, and welcome views from all sides of the GM debate.”

Scott Walker, NFU Scotland Chief Executive commented:

“We are disappointed that the Scottish Government has decided that no GM crops should ever be grown in Scotland. Other countries are embracing biotechnology where appropriate and we should be open to doing the same here in Scotland.
“Decisions should be taken on the individual merits of each variety, based on science and determined by whether the variety will deliver overall benefit. These crops could have a role in shaping sustainable agriculture at some point and at the same time protecting the environment which we all cherish in Scotland.
“What we want is an open debate that then allows decisions to be taken from an informed position reflecting current technology.”

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