Buddhist monastery in Dumfries and Galloway is fighting plans for two shooting ranges nearby


Buddhists at the Samye Ling Monastery are opposing plans to open two shooting ranges close to their Dumfries and Galloway site.

There are bids to establish two long-distance ranges from two nearby farms. Those behind the plans say it'll be good for the post-covid economy but the Buddhist community in Eskdalemuir says it goes against their principles of peace.

Samye Ling is currently in total lockdown to protect the vulnerable members of the community from Covid. They are calling for the ranges to go elsewhere, saying guns are a sign of violence and against everything they stand for.

Buddhist nun Ani Llamo said: "It's not like we're telling the whole world to be like us, we're not trying to make other people behave like we do.

"But, we would really appreciate it if it wasn't so close to where we are. We feel like it might have an impact on what we do and that has an emotional impact because of what the noise is connected with.

Ani Llamo, Samye Ling. Credit: ITV News

The monastery was the first Tibetan Buddhist centre in the west when it was established more than 50 years ago. Part of living in a rural area involves an element of organised shooting but those who live here say over recent years it has increased.

The guns used at the proposed ranges are high powered weapons which fire up to 2km away. It is a heavily regulated industry and approval also has to come from national bodies.

Gardners Guns and Clerkhill Farm are submitting a joint application for a range to be based at the farm, just two miles from Samye Ling. Both companies say they've had support from businesses in the area and it would provide a post-Covid visitor boost.

Credit: ITV News

We estimate the range would generate in excess of £500,000 for the local economy from the onset.

Clerkhill Farm

We have a full noise report, which indicates the noise levels averaging at the level of a normal conversation up to a vehicle passing and well below a lawnmower at various locations surrounding the facility.

Gardners Guns, Longtown

The area's MSP, Joan McAlpine, has given her backing to those against it and says what is already offered here is a big enough draw.

One of the things that concerns me about it is that the planning application only covers the area of ground where you shoot from and where the bullets land and the bit in between is not covered. It's a bit like applying for planning permission for a golf course but only including the part you tee off on. It doesn't seem right to me.

Joan McAlpine MSP, South Scotland SNP

The Monastery has started a petition against the plans while waiting to hear how councillors are going to proceed in the next few weeks.