Sir, Having just read the headline article on the fencing and partial replanting of Glen Rosa in the Banner of June 9, I think certain observations should be made.
The article states that the glen has been overgrazed for many years by deer and sheep. However, it is at least 10 years since sheep grazed on the hill. This being the case, any current overgrazing is solely down to deer. If the deer are to be fenced off from an area of 400 hectares(1,000 acres), some of which is prime wintering ground, will the National Trust cull an appropriate number of stags and hinds to avoid further overgrazing and winter starvation on adjoining land?
It is proposed that the fence would be in place for around 30 years, which means total stock exclusion for this length of time. Although only 10 per cent of the site would actually be planted with trees, excluding grazing animals for 30 years could allow scrub encroachment over substantial parts of the total area as can be seen in the area around the Machrie Moor standing stones, which will actually need clearing in the future.
Farmers have discovered that the current wood preservatives used on fencing materials mean that posts and stobs seldom last more than 10 years. This means re-erecting the fence three times before the trees are deemed big enough to survive. Substantially longer lasting but more expensive materials can be sourced from Sweden. In either case it probably means a much larger fencing cost than the National Trust anticipate.
Yours, Charlie McAllister, Environment and land use monitor, Arran branch NFU.