South Scotland

Moffat celebrates Dark Sky status

Moffat Image copyright James H Paterson (LCADS)

A south of Scotland town has received international recognition of its Dark Sky Community status.

It has taken Moffat three years to achieve the accolade.

The project received £240,000 of Scottish government funding in 2013 which was used to convert lighting to become "dark sky friendly".

Lighting consultant James Paterson said it would give Moffat a tremendous boost to winter tourism.

Mr Paterson said "There are about 30 stars within the four corner points of Orion and in Moffat you can see at least 17. In a normal street-lit town you could probably see about six."

The region already boasts a Dark Sky Park at the Galloway Forest Park.

Councillor Colin Smyth described the latest recognition as an "outstanding achievement" and said it was clear the dedication of all those involved had paid off.

There are a number of Dark Sky Communities already, including the island of Coll.

They are recognised for their "exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky".

Dumfries and Galloway Council said it intended to build on the status by including a protection policy for Moffat in its next local development plan.

"Our council is committed to supporting the local economy and by working together with communities such as Moffat, the region's tourism businesses can capitalise on our fantastic natural assets," said Mr Smyth.

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