Milngavie beauty spot trees face chop

PLANS to fell a large area of mature oaks at a Milngavie beauty spot have come under attack.

Scottish Woodlands Ltd wants to clear trees from a woodland - the largest being a three hectares site containing 100 year old trees - from what is one of only two 20 hectare woodlands in East Dunbartonshire.

The site at Mains Plantation - just north of Mains Estate - is also well used by people in the area for recreation as well as being an important area for wildlife.

Keith Small, chairman of Bearsden North Community Council, wrote to the company who are proposing to chop the trees down saying his organisation would be objecting to the plan.

Detrimental

He said: “We have a number of reasons for objecting to this plan. We feel it would be detrimental to the woodland and a loss to the local community.”

The reasons listed in their letter are:

* it is a long established semi-natural wood of some 36 hectares (90 acres) and listed on the Scottish Ancient Woodland Inventory as having been a woodland since at least 1860.

* It is one of only two blocks of native woodland over 20 hectares in East Dunbartonshire and is listed as a Local Nature Conservation Site in the Dunbartonshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan.

* Although some smaller areas are designated for felling, three hectares of land are proposed for commercial extraction of mature oak. This is the only substantial part of the woodland that has the character of ‘high forest’, an impressive stand of mature oak trees whose nearest equivalents are at Mugdock and Garscadden woods.

* Biodiversity would suffer as well as the amenity value for local residents.

* It would destroy what is arguably the most attractive and most intact long-established part of the woodland as well as the most important to the natural heritage.

* Oak woodland is a very scarce habitat in East Dunbartonshire despite the fact that it would have be the natural vegetation type over much of lowland Scotland.

* The whole of Mains Plantation is the subject of a Tree Preservation Order.

Mr Small added: “We would also question whether any commercial extraction is appropriate on a site with such high conservation value as well as high local amenity value for informal recreation.

“However, if extraction is carried out, it should involve at most the felling of individual trees or small groups of trees, up to only a small proportion of the remaining mature oaks. This would allow retention of the woodland with its current ‘high forest’ character, while minimising impacts on access and amenity and reducing the risk of wind-damage to surrounding trees.”

Echoing this point Jim Gibbons, an SNP councillor for the area, said: “If it’s got to be done, it should be done sensitively working with SNH and RSBP.”

Keith Scrimgeour, roads and neighbourhood services manager, said: “When the council first saw these proposals we suggested that Scottish Woodlands consult on their plans before applying for a felling licence.

Views

“They are doing this and the views of organisations like Scottish Natural Heritage, The Forestry Commission, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as well as residents’ groups are being sought.

“While recognising that there is a history of productive woodland management at this site, we are looking closely at the scope of the proposed felling.

“We look forward to hearing from Scottish Woodlands on the outcome of the consultation and in particular, the views of other consultees about how felling operations will impact on the biodiversity of the site.”