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Monikie curling pond trees saga rolls on

Local protesters were upset at the removal of the trees.
Local protesters were upset at the removal of the trees.

The site of a controversial tree felling operation in Monikie could be awarded retrospective protected status.

The move follows complaints from locals about works by Ayrshire-based Avancan Property Management at the former curling pond.

The firm has been told to prepare a 10-year plan of maintenance measures to fully restore the land and re-plant trees.

Forestry Commission Scotland said the works undertaken at the site in January were “exceptional” and likely to have had “significant effects on the environment”.

The site does not benefit from any additional protection at present, beyond that offered by the Forestry Commission’s felling licence requirements and exemptions.

The is despite repeated requests to Angus Council from residents.

Denise Reed of Scottish Natural Heritage said Monikie curling pond had potential to be categorised as a local conservation site, which would create safeguards against future development.

However, she warned the process was likely take some time.

She said: “The site is restorable and we have advised Forestry Commission Scotland accordingly.

“We are actively supportive of establishing and managing local nature conservation sites in Angus.

“We are actively discussing this proposal with Angus Council at the moment.

“Monikie curling pond may well be suited for inclusion as a local conservation site although this process will probably take some time.

“Should the enforcement notice stand we will be actively seeking appropriate restoration work.”

A Forestry Commission Scotland report issued following January’s investigation said the site was an important habitat for amphibians including common toads, frogs and palmate newts.

The report said more than 20 cubic metres of trees — around 150 specimens — were felled or dug up by the roots.

A separate investigation into alleged illegal felling under the Forestry Act is ongoing.

The owners of the woodland site, who bought the plot in July,- are to appeal the enforcement notice.

The company has denied any wrongdoing and claimed it had “sympathetically” cleared an “eyesore” site which had become a fly-tipping hotspot.

Director William McTeir previously denied the work had caused a significant impact on amphibians and said wildlife “was not abundant, like some African savannah”.

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