We refer to the article in the “Gazette” of July 2 which is promoting the laudable programme of work being carried out by Trees for Life in Increasing the area of one of Scotland’s most valuable and scarce resources, its Caledonian pine forests.
It might interest your readership and Trees for Life to know, however, that, of the eight wind farm sites now currently being put forward by landowners for development in and around Dava Moor, four of these sites are situated on areas of moorland that have been planted over the past 10 years or so as new native pinewoods, with conservation as the main objective.
These are not small woodland areas – their collective area totals around 3,500 acres – and establishment by landowners was aided by considerable grant funding from the public purse.
If approved, plans will involve bulldozing away substantial areas of these young woodlands to install the huge turbine tower foundations and infrastructure roading necessary for such development. Landowners are then set to receive the generous rental awards totalling many millions of pounds, again substantially funded indirectly from the public purse.
Much is spoken of in justification, not only by landowners and developers, but also by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission, that compensatory planting areas and Habitat Management Plans will be established nearby, but the truth of the matter is that the natural integrity of these important wildlife areas will be compromised and fragmented by such development. Surely in the national interest these woodland areas would be best left undisturbed to act as increasingly important carbon stores for the long-term future.
Government policy trumpets that on-shore wind farm development will only take place in carefully selected locations and under strict environmental controls – it is obvious, however, that such utilisation of native woodland sites is wholly inappropriate and totally unacceptable.
The views of the conservation charity “Trees for Life”, based in Findhorn, would thus be welcome regarding the abruptly short lifespan planned for some of the native pinewoods in and around Dava Moor, should these proposals go ahead. – Yours etc,
ROY HUWETT, Save our Dava, Greengates, Grantown-on-Spey.
16 July 2008
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