Chem­i­cal threat to Mull wildlife

The Oban Times - - Front Page -

THE wildlife par­adise of Mull may be dam­aged for­ever if a com­pany con­tin­ues with its chem­i­cal treat­ment of trees prior to plant­ing them near to wa­ter­ways and pri­vate homes.

That was the warn­ing from a small group protest­ing against the use of chem­i­cals to treat forestry on the is­land.

Til­hill, the UKs lead­ing spe­cial­ists in wood­land and for­est man­age­ment, man­ages a num­ber of forests on the is­land and claimed the chem­i­cal treat­ment of saplings was nec­es­sary be­cause the de­mand in other coun­tries for pa­per prod­ucts was so high trees needed to be ex­tracted and re­grown as quickly as pos­si­ble.

The protest group has now been set up to cam­paign against the use of Gazelle – a neon­i­coti­noid, which is a chem­i­cal ap­proved by the UK gov­ern­ment for use – on saplings be­ing planted within the for­est.

Mull res­i­dents John Laura, from Lunga­mull, and Mike Shils­den, from Der­vaig, were con­cerned with com­ments made at Mull Com­mu­nity Coun­cil last week.

Neil Stod­dart, a char­tered forester with Til­hill, told Mull Com­mu­nity Coun­cil that the money from pa­per prod­ucts was vi­tal to the Scot­tish econ­omy and the de­mand for wood was on the rise.

He said: ‘When peo­ple in China and Africa find out about toi­let rolls, the de­mand for pa­per prod­ucts will in­crease. No-one is go­ing to go back to us­ing grass when they use toi­let roll for the first time.’

Mr Laura was out­raged at the com­ments.

He said: ‘Ba­si­cally, Mull’s wildlife and tourism in­dus­try will be flushed down the pan.

‘While it is per­fectly le­gal for the chem­i­cal to be used, that is not to say that it will be le­gal for­ever.

‘We have huge con­cerns about the lack of en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact stud­ies on the use of the Gazelle chem­i­cal in a vast area of land with­out the ben­e­fit of proper stud­ies on the wildlife im­pact.

‘If the chem­i­cal gets into the wa­ter course it may bring an end the rea­son that Mull is fa­mous through­out the world – for its beauty and wildlife.’

Mr Shils­den added: ‘In June 2014, the task force on sys­temic pes­ti­cides pub­lished the largest global study into the ef­fects and risks of sys­temic pes­ti­cides, in­clud­ing neon­i­coti­noids.

‘We all know that killing the wee­vils that feed on the tree stumps will cause one kind of eco­log­i­cal dis­as­ter in the food chain, while putting the same chem­i­cals into the wa­ter will change the whole chem­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment of Mull. It is sim­ply en­vi­ron­men­tal ter­ror­ism for toi­let rolls in China. It is a dis­grace.’

John Lit­tle, a district man­ager for Til­hill, said: ‘We are us­ing a prod­uct that is li­censed by the gov­ern­ment for use in the way that Til­hill is us­ing it.

‘We are here to lis­ten to our cus­tomers.’

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