The project which the worker refers to (not the image above) is Muckrach Forest. According to its website, it is planting ‘up to 1m trees’ and undertaking ‘265 hectares of peatland restoration’.
This work is benefitting from Scottish Government incentives for trees and peatland work, funded by tax payers.
The neighbouring gamekeeper has been left dismayed at behaviour during planting and fencing work this Spring and early summer (key bird breeding time).
Additionally, despite attempts to find answers and requests to bodies such as the project, forestry bodies, NatureScot and Cairngorms National Park, his questions have led to a dead end.
“They (the project contractors) had machines on the hill up to 15th/16th May. They were mounding and planting in the middle of nesting time. Argos, quads and bikes. Planting before the fences were even complete so, whatever is in there, will eat the young trees which are being paid for by tax payers’ money. There will be hares and deer inside the fence just now. There isn’t even any rabbit netting on it. There is a plantation over the road, 50m away, that has to have a rabbit netted fence. Why does forestry not? What’s the difference?
“The fencer had 2 dogs running about all over the place and lost one as well, which was missing for a few days. The fence still isn’t finished. Maybe people are on holiday, I don’t know.
“Their practices need to change. It shouldn’t be that they are crushing waders’ nests into the ground with machines during nesting time.
“There are multiple issues."
The gamekeeper’s frustrations have not been helped by the lack of answers and apparent lack of responsibility over the actual work on the ground.
“I was in touch with the forestry body and NatureScot and a number of people within the National Park. Nobody from the park got back to me.
“A guy in NatureScot asked me to get in touch with Scottish Forestry. They basically said it was all in line within the mitigations of the operational plan. I asked who drew up the plan.
“There was no reply but I would like an answer.
“In my view, they have basically washed their hands of my requests. They said they had someone watching the site but that’s a load of rubbish because I was watching them and there was no one.
The project set up a website and I asked a few questions on it. No answer. They don’t respond.”
What do blog readers think? Should the gamekeeper be given answers? Should these projects have greater oversight AFTER the consultation phase and when the work is actually getting done?
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