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Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is inviting people in and around East Kintyre to take part in the development of the Carradale Land Management Plan.
The plan comprises four forest areas – Deer Hill, Deucheran, Grogport and High Clachaig, a total of 6,700 hectares – that cross a variety of different habitats, from conifer forest to native broadleaf areas and peat bogs sustaining a rich biodiversity.
There are also several recreational interests within the plan area, including facilities from Carradale up to the Deer Hill viewpoint.
Donald McNeill, FLS planning manager for the local team in West Region, said: ‘Forest management is a long-term business, so the draft plan looks at the next 20 years and how we can get the most out of these forests, how we will protect forest sustainability and diversity and how we will ensure that these forests continue to be an asset to the local communities.
‘We first consulted on this back in April 2018 and the draft plan takes into account all the views we received then.
‘However, there is a lot to consider and to plan for so this consultation on the draft plan will allow us to help explain issues and opportunities, and will let members of the public give us constructive comments that will help finalise the plan.
‘Given the current public health crisis, we are unfortunately unable to hold public meetings or events and so have put everything online for people to view and feedback on at their leisure.
‘However, anyone who for any reason is unable to take part in an online consultation can visit a display of printed copies of the main parts of the plan – and get printed feedback forms – at Carradale Village Hall car park. Anyone taking this option must observe physical distancing and all current Covid-19 advice.’
The local FLS team also hopes to meet with representatives of East Kintyre Community Council online.
The draft plan looks at getting the best use out of these forests, whether it’s in terms of timber production, as reserves for habitats and key species, or as a recreational resource for local communities.
FLS also considers how best to protect these forests from future threats, such as pests, diseases and the climate emergency, outlines plans for peatland restoration, and looks at how these forests can further contribute to renewable energy generation.
The online consultation will remain open until November 30.