20-year plan to protect Perthshire woodland should see green light

by | Jan 21, 2015 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

A massive woodland conservation plan that will run for the next 20 years looks likely to be approved by Perth and Kinross councillors.

The management programme has been drawn up to safeguard the future of 36 green sites across the region.

The project follows an extensive consultation exercise, which was launched three-and-a-half years ago.

Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Scotland, Sepa (the Scottish Environment Protection Agency), and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) were also involved in the discussions aimed at preserving more than 600 acres of forests and woodland.

The strategy, which will come before members of the environment committee on Wednesday, involves encouraging native trees and removing non-native varieties — unless they are providing homes for red squirrels.

The scheme will also include extra protection for meadows holding significant plant life, and steps will be taken to preserve sites of scientific interest at Kinnoull Hill, the Birks of Aberfeldy and the Den of Alyth.

The report also looks at urban woodland sites and green spaces and outlines the role they play in providing outdoor areas for children.

Allotments and orchards are also to be encouraged to give communities a place to grow their own food.

Committee convener Alan Grant said: “The council’s woodlands make a major and very positive contribution to the natural environment, combating climate change and enhancing the cultural and recreational opportunities in Perth and Kinross.

“They are incredibly important to our local communities and to our visitors and we must have a solid plan in place to protect and maintain these green spaces for future generations.”

The Perth and Kinross Forest Plan provides a framework for sustainable management until 2035.

If approved, it could be underpinned by external funding and community support.

The council will be able to apply for grants from the Scottish Rural Development Programme for some of the work.

Pathways and walking routes will be maintained and regularly inspected.