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Forestry Commission Scotland this week (Wednesday 6 June) embarked on the latest phase of consultation on its ten-year felling programme for the A82 corridor.
Representatives from the Commission, Transport Scotland and Northern Constabulary met with Highland Councillors to explain and highlight the extent and complexity of the work required to fell the trees, many which were planted in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Over the course of the next 6 weeks the Commission will consult more widely on it’s A82 Management Strategy, both to raise awareness and understanding of the operations required and also to explain the constraints that make the project such a significant challenge.
Alex Macleod, the Commission’s A82 Project Officer, said:
“We have been working in Glen Righ Forest near Fort William for a while now and local people are very aware of the scale of what we have to do. We are now publicising the wider A82 Project because there are other sections of hillside along the A82 corridor – between Glencoe in the south and Inverness in the north – where we will have to carry out extensive tree felling over the course of the next 10 – 15 years.”
“People will rightly be concerned over our long term felling plans and the potential for traffic disruption but by working closely with our partners, Transport Scotland and with the Police and Highland Council, we will do everything to minimise this as far as we possibly can.”
“These are still early days with a lot of planning still to be done. We’re carrying out a formal consultation for 6 weeks but we will make sure that there will be plenty of further opportunities for communities to talk through our plans with us. We’ll be staging ‘drop-in’ meetings ahead of Community Council meetings, posting public notices and also making full use of our own – and partners – websites.”
Applications for traffic management are generally made about up to 3 to 6 months in advance of actual operations taking place, so stakeholders and communities will be given plenty of advance warning before any operations that directly affect them begin.
A spokesperson for Transport Scotland, said:
"Transport Scotland is aware of the importance of the A82 as a lifeline route to the communities and businesses who use it daily. That is why we are working closely with Forestry Commission Scotland to explore all possible options to enable the timber harvesting operations to progress as smoothly as possible.
"Ongoing discussions include the next stage of the felling at Glen Righ north of Onich, anticipated for the autumn 2012, as well as longer term works between Fort William and Inverness. While some road closures will be inevitable to allow the works to be carried out safely, we are doing all we can to minimise delays and disruption.
"Drivers can play their part, too, by ensuring they plan their journeys in advance using all the available information. Real time traffic and travel updates are available at www.trafficscotland.org or on Twitter @TrafficScotland"
For more information – and some images depicting the nature of the work that needs to be carried out – visit www.forestry.gov.uk/a82operations
You can also follow us at http://twitter.com/A82operations
Up to date information on traffic management measures will be available on the Traffic Scotland Web site http://trafficscotland.org/ as and when they are required.
Notes to Editors
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as part of the Scottish Government’s Environment & Forestry Directorate, managing, protecting and enhancing the 660,000 hectare national forest estate in ways that deliver benefits to Scotland’s people, communities, biodiversity and economy. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
2) Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6507.
1) Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a’ riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland