PROBLEMS with commercial dog walkers exercising “large packs” of dogs at Musselburgh’s ash lagoons were highlighted at the annual general meeting of the Friends of Levenhall Links.

Jason Rose, who was re-elected the group’s chairman, said: “This can be disruptive to birdlife and intimidating for other site users.”

He added: “I understand the countryside rangers are considering what options there might be to try to regulate this kind of business.

“We need to balance access to the site with the fact that it is an important area for wildlife.”

Mr Rose said the AGM also heard about anti-social behaviour, mainly over the summer, which resulted in some fires being set and rubbish being left behind in the bird viewing hides.

He added: “This seems to have calmed down but we would encourage anyone noticing such behaviour to report it to the police, as the more notifications the police receive the more likely they are to respond.”

An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: “The council continues to promote responsible dog ownership, which includes a voluntary licensing scheme for commercial dog walkers which restricts the number of dogs exercised by one person to six.

“We are aware of occasional problems and both the countryside rangers and community wardens regularly visit the site and will advise when witnessing possible concerns with dogs.”

At the AGM, Nick Aitken, countryside ranger, gave an update on progress towards restoring and reshaping the last two ash lagoons, near the mouth of the River Esk and opposite the entrance to Prestongrange Museum. The project followed the closure and demolition of nearby Cockenzie Power Station.

Mr Rose said: “The one at the mouth of the Esk is to be reshaped and supplied with water so it becomes a habitat for wading birds.

“The one opposite Prestongrange is to be landscaped to become a marshy area to encourage insects and other wildlife.

“We understand the tender for this work, from ScottishPower, has just gone out so with luck a bidder will be chosen in the coming months, and we hope work will begin on site in the spring.”

Musselburgh’s Flood Alleviation Scheme was also on the agenda.

Mr Rose said: “They are investigating various locations in and around the town to determine what the impact of sea level rise and heavy rainfall would be. It seems that because Levenhall Lagoons are surrounded by a large concrete sea wall they are relatively safe from any climate change impacts.”

Bryon Liddle was re-elected treasurer at the AGM.

The Friends are planning a spring clean and litter pick at the lagoons on Saturday, March 2.

Anyone who isn’t already on the group’s mailing list and wants to be kept informed of activities and relevant issues can sign up at