While the UK Forestry Report, revised in 2023, lays out a comprehensive well intentioned set of guide lines for Forestry Practices, the self monitoring aspect is leaving much to be desired with potentially long term detrimental effects on landscapes and surrounding communities.

Displacement of family farms and rural communities, and the loss of quality farmland, ultimately, will lead to poor soil practices, plus potential water contamination causing a hazard to aquatic life now, and in the future.

Continuous damage to roads and small bridges and 24 hour activity during the planting and harvesting process while we witness the loss of well loved landscape character and distant views, is hard to put a value on.

Addressing areas around Canonbie near Langholm which is also under numerous planting threats, Scottish Forestry claims all boxes have been ticked and yet 80% of local people in an independent survey raised objections. A substantial total of 1200 acres being planted in one block, while other plans are afoot nearby, is this not industrial scale development?

Community consultations in such rural areas cannot be relied on to reflect a true picture of all the matters that require consideration. While I have had ongoing engagement and responses from individuals and companies resulting from my own feedback, with some adjustments offered, the loss of wildlife habitats and the long term effects on a rural community are often ignored.

Absentee land investors cannot replace displaced farmers and residents who will cease to be able to function as a ‘community’ in the resulting isolation. Diversity is crucial to survival with activity scaled to location.

Thorough scrutiny and diligence is surely the duty of government representatives to ensure responsible and accountable practices.

D. de Gruyther, Rural resident of Canonbie