SIR, Having just returned from laying my dear mother to rest in the parish of Canonbie, where she lived and brought up a family of four with my father on a Buccleuch Estate farm.

I am driven to comment on the sad passing also of numerous, viable, once thriving farms as well, due to blanket commercial forestry plans, amounting to a total of 1200 acres, and counting.

I raised this issue back in December 2023 questioning the approval process, the public consultation and the logic of losing working farms to plantations.

All the while I undertook an independent local consultation which showed 80% within 10 miles of the farms were opposed to planting, and sent this with a plea to the cabinet secretary Mairi Gougeon.

Alas the plan was still approved. While a fan of trees (in the right place) and supportive of an improved Scottish forestry industry, to see the loss of farming families and viable land (75% grade 4.2 and above).

This is not only against the Woodland Expansion Advisory Group recommendations to Scot Gov 2012, but is heartbreaking after generations of graft and a loss to our sustainable, food-producing, wildlife-enriching mixed farming families and the rural economy.

Despite approval, I urge Ms Gougeon to reconsider before it is too late for the farms of Claygate and surrounds, and many others which thousands of acres which could use some cover are ignored as ‘unproductive’.

Surely a better balance can be found to stop this rural social and environmental destruction.

Ali McKnight, Formerly of Glencartholm, Canonbie