Sir, – It is hard not to appreciate the sentiment of the recent letter 'Time for a careful mix of hill and forestry'.

The observations are sensible. There is a need for a more balanced and integrated approach to farming and forestry and as climate change accelerates, it is incumbent on us as farmers to do all we can to sustain and create more habitat for biodiversity.

I, too, have met some good foresters (a few in Scottish Forestry) who care about the land and habitats they are dealing with, and who are keen to work collaboratively to create the appropriate balance of woodland, habitats and farming.

Unfortunately, this is a rosy view. As I look up the hill to my neighbouring farm, I now see land destined for a large forestry scheme – with no viable farm to be left.

The hard-working tenant farmer has been there for 30 years, a great neighbour and an honest man who, during his time, cared for and nurtured the land, its nature. He had an intricate knowledge of all the habitats and species on the ground.

However, this is not a consideration to the new speculator type of landowner and his sycophantic forestry agents, as they devise how they might maximise the asset by securing as many lucrative forestry grants as possible.

With Scottish Forestry only too happy to meet set targets and plant a whole farm when they can, they do not care if the curlew nests, swallows return, or if the dykes are maintained, because they will not be there to care for it. They will have made their profit, ticked their box and be gone.

Officials will tell you that everything has followed a proper process. That maybe the case, but does it pass the 'sniff test'? Does it sit comfortably that a government-funded planting 'gold rush' allowed dubious speculators to profit and honest folk connected to the land to be pushed off their farms?

And will the environment be in any better place? Well, that depends on which carbon calculator you use.

So, yes, let's welcome change, let's work together, let's achieve balance, but not at the expense of losing real stewards of the land in the process.

Name and address supplied