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Jerah Forestry Proposal

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Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA):
Scoping Meeting, 16 January 2013

UPM Tilhill, the forestry company, have progressed with their plan for commercial woodlands in the Ochil Hills above Menstrie.

In January 2013, UPM hosted a meeting to list the topics to be addressed in a forthcoming Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The Forestry Commission have to agree the list.

UPM have issued a report, available as a PDF document.

Summary of the report

At the meeting were representatives from:

Forestry Commission Scotland would approve the proposal if it met official guidelines and dealt fairly with issues raised.

Logie Community Council (LCC) would need a further meeting with UPM and any new issues they might raise would go into the EIA.

For UPM, Andrew Vaughan (AV) presented details of the woodland design process including six versions of the woodland design map. He went on to summarise the key issues and potential mitigation measures which would form the agreed components of the EIA.

LCC noted that the boundary between the Menstrie and LCC is the Second Inchna Burn and that therefore that LCC has the larger proportion of the site. AV agreed but pointed out that most of the public access comes from Menstrie itself.

UPM noted that the changes made to the plan during consultation demostrated their efforts to accommodate requirements of current users.

Friends of the Ochils thought AV's presentation fairly reflected the issues and presented a written response whose four key points the meeting discussed:

UPM mentioned design issues. Some want the cross-country paths to follow ridges rather than the hollows. From a landscape point of view, however, the trees should be on the ridges and the hollows retained as open space around the watercourses. He claimed to have largely accommodated all key routes and would aim (wherever possible) to provide dry, firm, serviceable routes and not simply direct the public through wet hollows.

Martin Dean, Clacks Council's Access Officer, noted that there are no core paths or rights of way but that about half of the Scottish population can get to some part of the Ochils within an hour's drive. The Scottish Government encourages healthy activities and the scope and numbers of recreational users could increase. People's wish to use the ridges rather than be directed through damp shaded areas should be considered. Stiles and kissing gates are of limited or no benefit to cyclists and horse riders encountering deer fencing.

On the topic of maintainance of access, AV stated that the current accepted consensus under the Land Reform Act is that landowners have a duty of care and maintenance liability for built structures (such as foot bridges and gates) only. The public are free to take responsible access and to roam where they feel comfortable. Pedestrian access would help keep paths open if on dry firm ground. Gordon Roger from Clacks Council's Planning Dept indicated that their budget for maintaining Core Paths was almost zero.

The site's archaeology is undesignated. The only body able to designate it is Historic Scotland and following consultation, they have given no comment as to any requirements for this (since confirmed to UPM in writing).

The majority of the site falls outwith the AGLV boundary, according to AV.

To moderate the visible effect of eventual felling, Jerah forest has been designed following the natural geo-physical boundaries and breaks in the landscape, such as watercourses, which assist to create separate, smaller areas that can be felled separately. This should mitigate landscape issues caused by blanket felling as in the eastern Ochils.

UPM's Andrew Vaughan was referred to Clacks Council's Stuart Cullen about risk of flooding in Menstrie.

The foregoing is a partial and brief summary. Any errors are the responsibility of the editor.

Previous documents

Also available on this site are:

March 2013

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