If you go down to the woods today...

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

"Large areas of Ancient Woodland Sites Prioritise SSSI areas for conversion to BLs.

Identify priorities within PAWS area, favouring productive BLs where near access and protection. In areas outside PAWS and SSSI, favour productive conifer."

Yes, its gobbledygook time again as Forestry and land Scotland get set to chop down more forest in your area.

I was invited to what was optimistically called a ‘public consultation event’ last year at a small village hall which consisted of an array of maps and a few employees of various organisations. The maps were complete gibberish to the untrained eye. All the place names were helpfully removed from them so I couldn’t tell if what I was looking at was Knapdale or perhaps Norway.

Knapdale land management plan
One of the areas to be affected by forestry

Instead these were replaced by multi-coloured legends sporting names such as ‘Polyline’ ‘PVA Risk’ and ‘PAWS area’.

It was extremely difficult to get any answers at the time as to why large amounts of forest were to be removed, what impact it would have on the environment and when Forestry Commission Scotland wants to do this.

The ‘consultation’ event (although no-one seemed very interested in my views) resulted in a couple of pages of notes (available online) that just seems to have added to the general confusion. Many of these notes report the return of rare species (Hen harriers, Ospreys, Owls, Pine martin and red squirrel) which you would have thought may have mitigated some of the proposed tree removal, but I’m afraid they are largely ignored.

One note did say it would be ‘good to get the view back’.

Knapdale land management plan
What 'view'?

Do enjoy it, Sir, but don’t expect to see any wildlife...

I don’t want to be an old stick in the mud for Scotland’s ambitions to be financially self-governing and of course it makes sense to use natural resources to make lots of money – but why in Knapdale?

Forestry and Land Scotland has produced 13 documents in relation to tree felling in what is at the moment a beautiful area. Each one of these documents contains a plethora of passages designed to blind the already ignorant: ‘prioritise SSSI for conversion to BL’s’ is just one example.

A SSSI, my friends, is a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’. It is a place identified as containing rare animals or plants.

And Forestry and land Scotland wants to chop them down, tearing up chunks of land in the process and damaging the already fragile single track roads.

In an age of extinction and climate chaos, it is heart-warming to see Forestry and Land Scotland is still doing its best to destroy as much of our landscape as possible.