Moving soon – come join us

WT websiteWe’re moving from WordPress soon

Soon we will be blogging exclusively on the new Woodland Trust website. Woodland Matters will remain live but will no longer be updated or maintained.

Why are we moving?

We want to offer a more personalised experience for you, our wonderful readers. You will still be able to follow your favourite blogs and authors, but will also be able to create your own ‘scrap book’ of favourite content (including publications and citizen science news). You can still join in the conversation too, of course! Plus, our new website has the most up-to-date woodland news and conservation views from across the Trust, and the many ways that people can get involved in protecting, restoring and creating UK woods and trees – like taking part in our campaigns or applying for free community tree packs.

We’d like to say a big thank you to all of our subscribers and readers for joining us on our blogging journey over the last four years. The enthusiasm and comments we’ve received from you have been stimulating and thought provoking, and the blog has really evolved over time.

We hope you will join us in our new blogging home where we will continue to discuss the matters important to us and you. Once we are fully moved over we will let you know how you can sign up and follow us (Woodland Matters will continue in the interim).

Beautiful Appleton Jan,Feb 08 - Steven Highfield WTPL thanks

Posted in Campaigning, Conservation, Government Affairs | 8 Comments

In Dulci Jubilo…

WTPL/VisitWoods

WTPL/VisitWoods

As we approach the festive break, I’m “in sweet rejoicing” to report the delivery of one present on my Christmas List – the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee has supported our call for greater protection for ancient woodland in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Starting in April, the CLG Committee undertook a thorough investigation into how the NPPF has influenced development since its publication, and this week published a hard-hitting but constructive report  on how the NPPF can be strengthened. I gave evidence in June on how the environment, in particular ancient woodland, has fared, and the Committee pulled no punches in its questioning.

So it fills me with cheer to note that the Committee has taken on board our evidence stating that “We agree that ancient woodland should be protected by the planning system. Woodland that is over 400 years old cannot be replaced and should be awarded the same level of protection as our built heritage.

CLG Recommendations

The Committee has, at our behest, made a specific recommendation: “We recommend that the Government amend paragraph 118 of the NPPF to state that any loss of ancient woodland should be “wholly exceptional”.” This would bring ancient woodland up to the level of protection afforded to Grade 1 Listed buildings.

Furthermore the Committee has recommended “that the Government initiate work with Natural England and the Woodland Trust to establish whether more ancient woodland could be designated as sites of special scientific interest and to consider what the barriers to designation might be.” This is one of our key asks in our Enough is Enough campaign.

Sustainable development

While the Committee shares the Government’s desire for growth, it still recognises the need for equal importance to be given to the natural environment, and I particularly liked the first bullet point (of only four) in the summary at the beginning of the report:

First, we must take steps to ensure that the planning system delivers the sustainable development promised in the NPPF. We should ensure that the same weight is given to the environmental and social as to the economic dimension; that permission is only given to development if accompanied by the infrastructure necessary to support it; and that the planning system places due emphasis on the natural environment.

What next?

The Government will, in the New Year, issue a formal response to the CLG Committee Report. We hope the clear and constructive recommendations will be taken up, and we would like to see a timetable for when the changes to the NPPF will be made. We firmly believe that given the cross-party nature of the Committee (agreement on the report was unanimous, said the Chair, Clive Betts MP) and the widespread recognition of ancient woodland’s importance, whichever party is in power should be ready to act on these recommendations. So I feel that we can end 2014 with one good present for the festive season courtesy of the CLG Committee, but I hope that increasing protection for ancient woodland will be in the Government’s and all parties’ lists of New Year resolutions…

Richard Barnes, Senior Conservation Adviser

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Guest post: National Trust

There are no more than a handful of ancient tree specialists in the UK. These passionate folk can talk with real knowledge about these incredible organisms. We’re fortunate at the Woodland Trust to have Jill Butler to teach and inspire us. At the National Trust, which cares for more ancient trees on its estate than any other non-government organisation in Europe, Brian Muelaner played a similar role. We’re very pleased to welcome a guest blog from Brian about our nationally significant trees, also known as ‘V.I.Trees':

“The National Trust has recorded about 35,000 Very Important Trees (formally known as Trees of National Special Interest), with another 10,000 or so still to record and it may well own more ‘V.I.Trees’ than any other private owner in Europe.

Are all these spectacular trees safe for future generations to enjoy?

As the very recently retired Ancient Tree Adviser for the National Trust, I am well informed to say “NO”, not even within the Trust are these internationally important trees truly protected.

I will quickly say that all of the real jewels in the Trust’s crown are safe. Trees like Newton’s apple, the very tree Sir Isaac Newton sat beneath at his family home at Woolsthorpe Manor when he contemplated his theory on gravity; or the Ankerwycke yew opposite Runneymede which many believe is where the beginning of democracy began with the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1216; or the Tolpuddle Martyr’s tree under which the first ever trade union began.

Many more still are at risk

The thousands of special trees that live in parklands or farmland managed by tenant farmers are at greatest risk. Unfortunately the National Trust is often helpless to force the tenants to manage the land in ways favourable for the trees. Some forms of historic tenancies last for three generations and the landowner cannot alter the conditions of the tenancy during this whole period.

If these trees enjoyed legal status, much like listed buildings, then there would be a legal onus on farmers to ensure they didn’t damage them through their agricultural activities. Without this status the trees are at the mercy of the farming practice taking place around them.

Under the roots

All trees have a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi which live beneath the ground and connect directly to their fine feeder roots. The fungi are far better at extracting water and the basic raw elements needed for growth such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus from the soil through their far more extensive network of hyphae. The mycorrhizal fungi share the nutrients and water with the trees’ roots, passing them up through the roots, up the trunk and branches to the leaves, where the tree can convert these basic elements into complex sugars and carbohydrates through photosynthesis. Fungi have no chlorophyll so are unable to utilise the sun’s energy through photosynthesis. The tree then passes a share of these newly created carbohydrates, such as sugar, to the fungi so both organisms benefit from the exchange. These fungi also protect the tree from pathogens invading the tree through its semi-porous root hairs, not wanting the tree providing it with high energy food to be harmed.

There are many modern farming activities which damage this relationship and reduce the life of trees. Growing crops like wheat or barley require high concentrations of inputs such as pesticides to kill off weed growth and fertilisers to increase yields, both of which damage the mycorrhizal community below the surface. Often the tree’s roots are also physically damaged by ploughing beneath the crown of the tree.

Image: courtesy of Brian Muelaner

Image: courtesy of Brian Muelaner

Above the ground

Even in pastures which are grazed by cattle and or sheep the trees can be inadvertently damaged through inappropriate activity such as overgrazing in wet months when the soil can become a mud bath.

Image: courtesy of Brian Muelaner

Image: courtesy of Brian Muelaner

Horses will often strip the bark off the lower part of the tree allowing decay fungi access into the functional sapwood of the tree which damages the tree’s ability to transport nutrients and water.

Image: courtesy of Brian Muelaner

Image: courtesy of Brian Muelaner

What could make a difference?

If these trees had formal recognition as being nationally important for their biodiversity, landscape enhancement, heritage associations or interpretation of the historic landscape, then damaging farming practices would not be tolerated.

Brian Muelaner. Image: National Trust

Brian Muelaner. Image: National Trust

At present all of these activities take place across the country, even on land owned by a conservation organisation like the National Trust and it may take a public outcry to influence our government to do something meaningful about this tragedy.”

Brian Muelaner

You can help give Very Important Trees the VIP status these living monuments deserve – please show your support for a register of nationally important trees.

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Guest post: Ancient Tree Forum

Our long partnership with Ancient Tree Forum has involved a fascinating exploration into the UK’s incredible tree heritage. We are pleased to welcome Hannah Solloway, Development Officer at the Ancient Tree Forum, as a guest blogger, to talk about how the V.I.Trees campaign links it all together:

“The Ancient Tree Forum (ATF) held its autumn field visit at Newnham Park near Plymouth. The site was described by our local Devon group as ‘a real gem of the South West’, with its many distinctive and wonderful ancient oaks, and yet the trees on this site, like many others, are not formally recognised and have little or no specific protection in law.

The Woodland Trust’s Very Important Trees campaign supports the work of the ATF and the Tree Council in calling for the establishment of national registers to record, and to help celebrate and protect our nationally important and best-loved trees.

A register would give recognition and status to nationally significant trees like those at Newnham Park.

Ancient tree measuring at Newnham Park. Image: courtesy Hannah Solloway

Ancient tree measuring at Newnham Park. Image: courtesy Hannah Solloway

Image: courtesy Hannah Solloway

Image: courtesy Hannah Solloway

Why exactly are these trees so important?

The Ancient Tree Forum is a small charity which promotes the importance, care and protection of Britain’s ancient and other veteran trees. We seek to secure the long term future of ancient and other veteran trees and we value them in their own right, for qualities including their unique and characterful individual forms, their beauty, sheer size, and distinctive features like gnarled bark and hollowed trunks.

Connections with history

We also value our older trees for their connection with history, and recognise that they are often relics of former land-use and distinctive landscapes. Frequently, they are now found outside woodlands, in deer parks and country estates like Newnham Park, in hedgerows and even in cities.

Some individual trees are important to local communities as familiar landmarks, like the ‘lonely tree’ at Llanfyllin. So important is this Scots pine that when blown over by high winds, hundreds of locals rallied to cover its broken roots with tons of earth so that it will hopefully carry on living.

Other trees provide links to past generations of people who lived and worked among them, like the Tolpuddle Martyrs Tree in Dorset which witnessed the formation of the first trade union, or the pollarded willows of the fenlands which were working trees, used for basket-making.

Survivors over centuries

A further value of ancient and veteran trees is that they have often tolerated and adapted to past stresses and changing circumstances.

As survivors they have demonstrated resilience and longevity, and therefore can be seen as an important genetic resource. They can help us understand the process of aging in trees, and should be valued as some of the oldest living organisms on earth.

Givers of life

And of course old trees are vital for supporting biodiversity through providing numerous habitats for wildlife, particularly the specialised and rare organisms which have co-evolved with them and are dependent upon them for their survival. The bark of ancient and veteran trees can host rare lichens, their hollows often provide roosting and nesting places for bats and birds, and decaying wood supports a suite of specialist insects.

At Newnham Park, we saw plenty of fungi associated with older trees, like the key heartwood-hollowing bracket fungi Beefsteak (Fistulina hepatica), Chicken-of-the-Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) and the much scarcer Hen-of-the-woods (Grifola frondosa). Amongst the beetles spotted by our invertebrate expert was the flat bark beetle (Pediacus dermestoides) which is rare across much of its European range, but likes the cool and damp conditions of Southern Britain.

So why are they not officially recognised?

Our trees are not recognised in the same way that buildings, ancient monuments or historic parks and gardens are. One reason is that ancient and veteran trees are not systematically surveyed or mapped (as ancient woodlands are) and can therefore be overlooked and undervalued. Damage, threats and losses may go unnoticed, diminishing this already scarce heritage.

Whilst the Ancient Tree Inventory, a citizen science database, holds data on many important trees there are a great many that are not yet listed in the Inventory; for example it wasn’t until the ATF’s visit to Newnham, when local recorders had access to the site, that data was recorded about its ancient oaks.

There is also a common misconception that our ancient and veteran trees are protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). In reality these powers are rarely used outside urban areas or where there is no known threat, and councils are not obliged to use them. Most TPOs are made when trees are threatened by development – if that threat is known in advance. For councils to use the power, trees are also expected to have amenity value which can be interpreted as a requirement for public visibility.

It is a stated aim of the Ancient Tree Forum that there should be no further avoidable loss of ancient trees. To prevent further loss, we need to ensure trees are protected from harmful activities like inappropriate pruning and root damage, and are prevented from being cut down, or killed through shading by other trees.

We also need to make sure there is positive, sympathetic management of trees and their surroundings, as detailed in our book ‘Ancient and other veteran trees: further guidance on management’. These trees are vulnerable and may have specific needs. This may require costly, specialist care, and we would like to see grants or rewards being made available to landowners for good management, in order to avoid neglect of or unintentional harm to this irreplaceable part of our national heritage.

Ultimately, we believe our ancient and veteran trees should have the same recognition, protection and care as our historic buildings.

Learn more with the ATF

Hannah Solloway of the Ancient Tree Forum

Hannah Solloway of the Ancient Tree Forum

For more information about the Ancient Tree Forum, details of our next field visit (in March 2015, focusing on ancient and veteran orchards and fruit trees) and to sign up for our newsletter contact us at enquiries@ancienttreeforum.co.uk.”

Hannah Solloway

You can help give Very Important Trees the VIP status these living monuments deserve – please show your support for a register of nationally important trees.

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Congratulations to the Major Oak

The Major Oak is the 2014 ‘Tree of the Year’ in England.

I was pleased to join our Head of Campaigning, Nikki Williams, on a visit to the Major Oak in its famous forest home. We presented staff from Sherwood Forest County Park with a certificate from the Trust, confirming the tree’s accolade.

Winner!  Woodland Trust Head of Campaigning, Nikki Williams, presents the award certificate to members of the Sherwood Forest Trust, who accept the 'Tree of the Year' accolade on behalf of the Major Oak. L-R:  Nikki Williams,

WINNER!!!
Woodland Trust head of campaigning, Nikki Williams, with staff from Sherwood Forest Country Park who accepted the ‘Tree of the Year’ accolade on behalf of the Major Oak.
L-R: Charleen Case, Jed Clampett, Adrian Grieve, Nikki Williams, Izi Banton

The Competition

Over the summer we asked for nominations for an individual tree with a story. It was hard to compile a shortlist of ten but once we had our list we asked the public to choose their favourite.

The response was fantastic! Nearly 13,000 people cast votes in just eight days and the competition received great coverage all over the press and on social media too. The Major Oak took nearly 20% of the vote. This wonderful ancient tree, synonymous with myth and legend, will now represent England in the next phase of the competition. It joins trees from 13 other European countries which could be crowned ‘European Tree of the Year’.

It was great to meet the staff, whose enthusiasm for the contest clearly matched the public’s. Over the past few months it has been heart-warming to see how much love there is for special, old trees and such a simple idea to choose a favourite has really captured everyone’s imagination.

Thanks to everyone who voted!

You can help our special trees

Our V.I.Trees campaign, in partnership with Country Living magazine, needs you…

We want to see a national register for Trees of Special Interest like the Major Oak. Trees like these are markers of history, living monuments. They deserve to be recognised and valued for the contribution they make to our culture and heritage – just as our listed buildings are.

We are asking the Environment Ministers in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to consider developing a register. They have all said they will progress the idea if we can prove it’s important to the public, too.

We hope that by raising awareness of the UK’s ancient and veteran trees through campaigns like these, we can ensure they have a secure future and will be enjoyed by future generations too. The love we’ve seen you demonstrate for your trees shows how valued they are – please show your support for a register of trees of national importance.

Chris Hickman, Press Officer

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Hit the Road Jack

The usual mixture of triumph, alarm and gnashing of teeth greeted the publication of the Government’s Roads Investment Strategy earlier this week. Strong reaction to the laying of an additional 1,300 miles of tarmac was heard from both sides, with the media’s focus naturally gravitated towards the potential impact on one of the world’s most iconic prehistoric monuments.

A volatile package 

The debate is far more extensive though, and indeed nuanced, than a simple ‘car driver versus environmental-and-archaeological-damage-at-Stonehenge’ conundrum. It involves a dilapidated strategic road network creaking under the weight of 21st Century demand, a booming population and significant advances in technology. Throw in a plethora of irreplaceable habitats, endangered species, greenbelt and air quality concerns and what the Government described as the “biggest investment in our road network since the 1970s” becomes a volatile package.

For well over a year as this road building package has begun to emerge, we have been lobbying the Department for Transport (DfT) on behalf of woods and trees. Our position is clear: irreplaceable habitats like ancient woodland should not fall victim to asphalt. Recently we joined forces with a wide array of environmental and transportation organisations, from National Express to the Ramblers, to press the DfT to examine alternative solutions, urging the Government to consider a green retrofit programme.

Many ancient woods run alongside the 127 road schemes announced. It is inconceivable all will survive the proposals.

Many ancient woods run alongside the 127 road schemes announced. It is inconceivable all will survive the proposals intact.

Progress

Some progress has been made. Not least, in that the Strategy requires the soon-to-be-established Strategic Highways Company (replacing the Highways Agency) to demonstrate how it will deliver ‘no net loss’ of biodiversity. Thanks to our pressure, supported by others, the Strategy goes further, with an aspiration of net biodiversity gain by 2040.

‘Green’ spending is also promised

Green spending is also promised. For retrofitting the existing network, £300 million has been earmarked. A further £100million is laid aside for air quality, and an Environment Fund has £300million allocated; this includes £100million for landscape and biodiversity. ’Landscape’ in this sense isn’t just about the natural environment but also our built heritage. We should also note that the ‘Environment Fund’ includes monies (£75m) for dealing with noise pollution like noise barriers and resurfacing. While welcome these figures are small drops in the overall £15 billion strategic roads ocean.

We know from experience that the “environmental protection” message only goes so far in development circles. As we go through the detail (often lacking) of the 127 schemes announced, we are seeing areas of ancient woods and trees directly in the path of the bulldozers. I’ll post more on these soon.

Over £15 billion is being spent to deliver the new Roads Investment Strategy. We are pushing for a green retrofit programme.

Over £15 billion is being spent to deliver the new Roads Investment Strategy. We are pushing for a green retrofit programme to limit the impact on our natural environment.

Our work continues and you can help 

These proposals need intelligent and careful thinking as they have the potential to cause enormous damage. So our work continues, to persuade all those in power to understand that once gone, our ancient woods really are gone forever. The Strategy itself is part of the Infrastructure Bill, something we are also working on.

We’re looking at the most effective way you can play your part, too. In the meantime, watch out for future blogs about how this Strategy progresses, the specific schemes and also about the changes to the Highways Agency, coming up and make sure you keep supporting our Enough is Enough campaign demanding greater protection for our ancient woods and trees.

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The Fortingall Yew: fact and fiction

Growing up in the Big Tree Country, Killin at the head of Loch Tay in Perthshire, it was impossible not to be aware from a young age of the area’s amazing woodland heritage. As well as various climbing trees in my parent’s garden and around the village, there was the spooky hanging tree at Finlarig Castle and the giant sequoia at Auchmore, one of many planted by Queen Victoria on her Highland tour in 1842.

But the tree that really blew me away was the daddy of them all… the ancient Fortingall Yew, a short distance away at the other end of the loch.

The impressive Fortingall yew, snapped in 2011.  Image: Wikimedia Commons: Paul Hermans.

The impressive Fortingall yew, snapped in 2011.
Image: Wikimedia Commons: Paul Hermans.

I can remember being taken to visit the Yew by my parents and being staggered that anything could possibly be so big and so old and still be living. Over the years I learned lots of things about it that everyone knew to be true. That is was the oldest thing in the world, and that Pontius Pilate, the Roman judge, had grown up playing under its branches.

An incredible experience…

Recently I was offered the chance to be interviewed underneath the Yew for a programme called Hayman’s Way, which is following in the footsteps of Tom Weir’s long running series, which showcased Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage in the 1970s and 80s. It was a special privilege, as we had managed to secure access to the inside of a high wall that contains the trees, built in the nineteenth century to protect it from souvenir hunters and fire raisers.

Standing within the Yew is an incredible experience. It’s suffered from the ravages of old age and damage from people but its twisted and gnarly branches still speak of millennia of life. Its maximum girth, a massive 19 metres dwarfs its remains, but even in its degraded form the Yew still obviously huge, and even today it is still sending out new shoots of growth.

As the heartwood is long gone it’s impossible to say how old the Yew is by counting rings or carbon dating, but the best guesses place it at 2,000-3,000 years old. The eighteenth century botanist De Candolle was a pioneer in aging trees according to their size. He believed that yews grew one inch in diameter for every 25 years, and he produced on that basis an estimate of 2,700 years in 1769, which today would make it just shy of its 3,000th birthday.

Fact-busting and myth-making

Despite its great age, the Fortingall Yew is certainly not, as many claim, the oldest living thing in the world. The record breaker is a humble patch of seagrass in the Mediterranean which has been dates to staggering

Similarly the Yew isn’t the oldest tree in the world (a grove of aspen in Utah thought to be about 80,000 years old claims that title), or Europe (that’s an 8,000 year old bristlecone pine in Sweden), or even the UK (step forward the 5,000 year old yew at Defynnog).

That tale about Pontius Pilate? Well, if you consider that the Roman’s invaded Britain in 41 AD, and he is likely to have died in 37AD, then it’s not worth dwelling on for too long after that.

Some people even think it was placed to mark the exact centre of Scotland. But according to the Ordnance Survey, depending on whether you factor in Shetland to your calculation that’s either a few miles north on the flank of Schiehallion, or high on a loch side near Laggan in the Highlands.

And there’s one mystery which will probably never be resolved…

No one really knows for sure if the Fortingall Yew got there naturally, or if it was planted. While yew is a native species in Scotland its heartland in the UK is really in the south of England and Wales. That means it’s an unlikely tree to find in the wild, and maybe its longevity is owed to the fact that it was planted as an important religious symbol, and cared for all the more as a result.

If it was planted then it shows that 2,000 or more years ago that people were actively choosing and planting trees. If people brought crops to Britain for farming it is very likely they brought tree seeds after the Ice Age acorns, chestnuts, hazel and juniper provided for food and flavourings.

But whether the yew was planted or not, or if the tales about it are untrue, none of that really matters too much. The value of a legend isn’t in its truth, it’s whether it can move people and make them think, and the myths that are told about the Fortingall Yew just add to its incredible story.

Yew trees are associated with immortality and it’s hard to stand under the branches of the one in Fortingall and not think about the past. Here is a tree that is older than the churchyard it stands, and even Scotland, and which is a living link to a time when the pyramids were still being built. To me that will always be mind-blowing.

Trees like these need to be acknowledged as national treasures!

The Woodland Trust is calling for a National Register of Scotland’s trees of special interest, our nationally important trees, to celebrate them and ultimately offer them better protection. Please show your support today!

For me and I’m sure for many others, the very first tree on the list would be the ancient Fortingall Yew.

Rory Syme, PR and communications officer, Woodland Trust Scotland

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School Wood Saved!! (for the moment)

Nearly four hectares of ancient woodland in the Cairngorms National Park have been saved (Whoop – Whoop!)Scots Pine at Cairngorms

In May 2013 we were alerted to a planning application that could cause the direct loss of almost four hectares of ancient woodland. If it was approved, two areas of irreplaceable ancient woodland in School Wood near Nethy Bridge would be cleared to make way for 58 houses.

Nethy Bridge is surrounded by woodland, and unsurprisingly it’s a village that prides itself on its connection to nature. School Wood is a popular place for recreation and especially wildlife watching, as it provides a home to red squirrels, pine martens and green shield moss, all endangered woodland species. The wood has been subject to many planning applications over the years and local residents and conservation charities alike are always quick to come to its defence.

We’re glad to be able to report that our objection taken alongside others such as Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group, Buglife Scotland and the Ancient Tree Forum led to the refusal of the latest planning application, meaning nearly four hectares of ancient woodland is safe, barring an appeal from the developer which must be made within six months.

To defeat this particular threat we had to fight two age old arguments. Namely:

Argument 1: The application implied that the wood isn’t ancient at all and therefore it was open to be cleared for development.
This is a tricky argument to have at times as Scotland’s Ancient Woodland Inventory is provisional and the data that was used to create it means it will remain this way for the foreseeable future.

However information from local ecologists provided us with confidence that the wood should be on the Inventory and Scottish Natural Heritage’s response to the application did not dispute its status.

Argument 2: If one area of ancient woodland is lost then this is a good thing as it means the remaining area of ancient woodland will be better managed.

At no time should this argument be used as a mitigation measure for ancient woodland, which is irreplaceable habitat. It can only be deemed to be compensation and should not be viewed in a positive light.

When it came to light that the wood was most likely an area of plantation on ancient woodland (PAWS), we provided a further response continuing our objection and pointing out that the Cairngorms National Park Forest and Woodland Framework states that one of the priorities for the Park is to:

“Protect all ancient and semi-natural woodlands from further damage and fragmentation and restore them all in plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS);”

But we do have concerns over a decision made to only exclude part of the planned development from the local plan. While a big positive result from the committee’s decision was to remove the northern part of the site from the local plan, giving it protection from future applications, the committee convenor indicated a clear desire to see the southern part of the wood at Craigmore Road developed “as soon as possible”, ignoring its special importance.

red squirrel at School Wood in the CairngormsThis part of the wood has high ecological valuable, for example containing more red squirrel drays than at School Road, so any new application in this area will be fiercely opposed, It’s possible that Scotland’s new environment minister Aileen McLeod MSP, who is species champion for red squirrel, may even take an interest.

Watch This Space…

This case was managed by Katharine Rist – Campaigner, Ancient Woodland and Rory Syme – PR & Communications Officer, Scotland

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