Burntisland port campaign underlines power of the community – David Torrance MSP

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Community is everything.

There are so many positives of belonging to an engaging community.

It gives us a sense of belonging. It allows us to get involved with new things and new experiences, create better environments for others, create networks and connections, and a sense of accomplishment. It really is a two-way street, with individuals and the areas we live in both benefitting.

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There can be no better example of this than the Burntisland Harbour Access Trust (BHAT). Formed in 2021, in response to a Listed Building Consent application by Forth Ports to fence off areas of their east dock with the stated intention of ending community access on the grounds of health and safety, their aim is to restore legal access to the harbour.

Save Burntisland Harbour march in 2021 (Pic:  Fife Photo Agency)Save Burntisland Harbour march in 2021 (Pic:  Fife Photo Agency)
Save Burntisland Harbour march in 2021 (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

The Port of Burntisland is the Forth’s most natural harbour and one of its oldest, popular amongst generations of walkers, cyclists and wildlife enthusiasts.

Since the turn of the 20th century, the community has enjoyed open public access to the dock, even when the port was at its busiest, exporting three million tons of coal annually. I strongly agree with the view of the group that a vibrant and successful harbour is in no way incompatible with responsible rights of access and that ultimately, both Forth Ports and the community of Burntisland have a shared interested in the success of the harbour.

The east dock is a valuable and well used community resource and the very well-attended protest march and rally in November 2021 demonstrated just how strong local feeling against the fence plans was, with hundreds of people taking part in the event.

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Since then, BHAT has continued its campaign with gusto and passion, registering a community interest in the land and more recently, following the success of a local fundraiser, engaging solicitors to consider the legal issues around access.

As the campaign continues, every single person involved should be immensely proud of what it has have achieved so far. This is the power of community.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Fife Free Press.

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