Are forestry operations judged by different  standards?

In the second Workers’ Blog, a gamekeeper neighbouring a subsidised forestry and peatland project asks whether forestry is now being judged by different standards to other land uses.

Workers>
                <figcaption>
                  <h6>A tree planting project in Scotland</h6>
                </figcaption>
              </figure>
              <p>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’.</p>
              <p>This work is benefitting from Scottish Government incentives for trees and peatland work, funded by tax
                payers.</p>
              <p> </p>
              <p>The neighbouring gamekeeper has been left dismayed at behaviour during planting and fencing work this
                Spring and early summer (key bird breeding time).</p>
              <p> </p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p> </p>
              <p>“They (the project contractors) had machines on the hill up to <strong>15th/16th May</strong>. 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?</p>
              <figure class=
Mounding - exposing peat-  at a previous planting project within the Cairngorms National Park

“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.

 

“If we (gamekeepers) did something like this, they would be down on us like a ton of bricks. The muirburn season finishes, for example, on the 15th April because of nesting wildlife. What is different about forestry operations? 

“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."

Curlew during the 2023 breeding season (nesting within recently burned heather)

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?

 

Please respond, with your views, on our social media pages 

AND

if you want to to submit to our Workers’ Blog, email info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk using ‘Workers’ Blog’ in the subject line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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