Environment officers have dismissed complaints over piles of fertiliser pellets heaped in the lay-by close to the memorial cairn to poet Will Ogilvie.
The cairn lies close to the road between Ashkirk and Roberton, long immortalised in one of the Ogilvie’s finest works, The Road to Roberton.
Local community councillors say the heaps of black pellets – which are manufactured from dried sewage cake – and their associated smell have made a footpath unpassable and rendered any visit to the cairn an “unpleasant” experience.
The pellets belong to Robert Nosworthy, who has been spreading them over the last few weeks on the fields of Shielswood Farm, which he has run for the last 12 years.
And the stockpile being so close to the Ogilvie cairn, has also drawn flak from the Will H Ogilvie Memorial Trust. But this week, a spokesperson from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said Mr Nosworthy’s fertiliser operations had been given a clean bill of health.
“Inspections have been carried out in response to the complaints and SEPA officers are satisfied that the storage and spreading of this material is compliant with environmental regulations,” the agency spokesperson told us.
“No evidence was found to suggest that the sewage sludge had entered local watercourses or impacted on the wider water environment.”
For his part, Mr Nosworthy, on whose land the cairn, stone seat and car park all stand, says he is pretty fed-up with the row.
“I must’ve shifted about 300 or 400 tons of pellets in the last few weeks and the rest would have been gone by now if it wasn’t for the weather holding things up,” he said.
“But if this hassle continues, I’ll just pull the monument down and close the car park.”