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Now Royal Highland venue under threat

THE HOME of the Scottish Kennel Club’s two shows is under threat from plans to expand Edinburgh Airport.

Under the Government’s white paper on aviation, the Ingliston centre would be demolished by the year 2013 to allow the building of a second runway and general expansion of the airport’s operation. Not only would the SKC’s show suffer as a result, so too would other major events such as the Royal Highland Show, prompting the show’s chief executive Ray Jones to comment that the society would resist any proposals to be moved from its present location.

The society has invested heavily in the site in recent years. In July 2003, the £3.5m Highland Hall was opened by The Princess Royal. Other costly improvements include new entrance gates, a landscaped ‘countryside area’ and the McRobert Theatre.

The SKC stages two shows at Ingliston each year, in May and August. The May show is a Representative show at which all breeds are awarded CCs. Traditionally, the SKC has made a profit on the May show and a loss on the August show

The Government’s plans for the future of aviation – and the expansion of other airports, such as Stansted as well as Edinburgh - were announced by Transport Secretary and MP for Edinburgh Central, Alistair Darling who said that the second runway at Edinburgh would not be built until existing capacity at other airports had been exhausted. Projections for this timescale range between 10 and 20 years.

Although the paper gives some leeway in the timing of events, it states quite clearly that if the expansion of Edinburgh airport was to take place then plans to move the RHAS could come much sooner. The document states: ‘Our proposals would require the relocation of the RHAS, by around 2013 (or earlier if that would be more suitable). The Scottish Executive will work with the society, BAA and relevant local authorities to identify and alternative site for the society and help facilitate their relocation.’

The Scottish Kennel Club declined to comment on the proposals, although a statement is expected within the next fortnight. However, it is understood that not all canine organisations having use of the showground and centre would be over distressed at its demise and the need to find alternative accommodation for their shows. With regards Ingliston, in recent times many canine show societies have been run into problems with the venue, citing the attitude of the centre’s management towards them as less than satisfactory. The Hound Association of Scotland were told just after New Year 2003 that the venue was unavailable, forcing them to relocate to Kelso in April of last year.