Com­mu­nity group get an apology over for­est plans Coun­cil not told about pro­posal for 100 acres of wood­land near Loch Urr

The Galloway News - - Galloway View - STU­ART GILLE­SPIE

A com­mu­nity coun­cil has re­ceived an apology af­ter not be­ing told about plans for a new forestry de­vel­op­ment in their area.

Cor­sock and Kirk­patrick Durham Com­mu­nity Coun­cil was un­happy with how a pro­posal for more than 100 acres of wood­land near Loch Urr was pub­li­cised.

It was ad­ver­tised as Thorn­hill and the com­mu­nity coun­cil felt the ad­dress should have been given as Cor­sock. Had that hap­pened, they would have given it more scru­tiny.

When they high­lighted the prob­lem with Scot­tish Forestry, they were told it was too late to com­ment on the plan.

Af­ter mak­ing a for­mal com­plaint, the or­gan­i­sa­tion said sorry for the “ad­min­is­tra­tive er­ror”.

Com­mu­nity coun­cil chair­man, Joe Seed, said: “We thank Scot­tish Forestry for their re­sponse. We are, how­ever, dis­ap­pointed that they felt a 119 hectare de­vel­op­ment a few miles out­side of Cor­sock vil­lage on a pop­u­lar ex­er­cise and com­mut­ing route was too re­mote be wor­thy of no­ti­fi­ca­tion, de­spite com­mu­nity en­gage­ment be­ing one of the main pri­or­i­ties of the gov­ern­ment forestry strat­egy.”

A Scot­tish Forestry spokesman said: “Cor­sock and Kirk­patrick Durham Com­mu­nity Coun­cil has made a com­plaint to Scot­tish Forestry and a re­ply to the chair of the com­mu­nity coun­cil has been pre­pared and for­warded.

“We have apol­o­gised for the ad­min­is­tra­tive er­ror that oc­curred in re­la­tion to the wood­land cre­ation scheme in ques­tion and have given a com­mit­ment to work with the com­mu­nity coun­cil to better un­der­stand the full range of for­est and wood­land man­age­ment that the com­mu­nity would like to be con­sulted on in fu­ture.”

The com­mu­nity coun­cil had also ex­pressed con­cern that the en­tire site would be pop­u­lated with conifer. Scot­tish Forestry said that would only cover 83 per cent, with the rest a mix of na­tive broadleave­s and open ground.

But Mr Seed said: “We feel this falls short of gov­ern­ment tar­gets and would have liked to see at least 25 per cent of the area planted with na­tive broadleaf species to go some way to help main­tain the eco­log­i­cal balance of the de­vel­op­ment, es­pe­cially around the bor­ders of the wood­land to mit­i­gate the vis­ual im­pact of the de­vel­op­ment.

“A larger area of open ground would also have been prefer­able to pro­vide habi­tat for a va­ri­ety of im­por­tant lo­cal flora and fauna.

“With an­other 3,200 acres of new forestry de­vel­op­ments in the pipe­line for the Ste­wartry we be­lieve it is im­por­tant that the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties are fully con­sulted to make sure species di­ver­sity and the land­scape are pre­served for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

Mr Seed asked any­one with con­cerns over the qual­ity and quan­tity of pro­posed forests to con­tact the com­mu­nity coun­cil on ck­pdcc@ stew­artrycvs.org.uk or get in touch with their own com­mu­nity coun­cil.

Dis­ap­pointed Joe Seed Cor­sock and Kirk­patrick Durham Com­mu­nity Coun­cil chair­man

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