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Felled trees will have to be replanted after people power wins in Monikie

The old curling pond.
The old curling pond.

The determination of Monikie people has been hailed before the final chapter of a bitter tree felling fight.

Battle lines were drawn by Monikie residents in January 2018 after they lodged complaints about the destruction of a unique wet woodland.

All of the woodland at the former curling pond was cleared using heavy machinery and a trench was cut in the bund containing the pond to assist with drainage from the area.

Critics said the operation to remove trees and undergrowth by Ayrshire-based Avancan Property Management was likely to have had “significant effects on the environment”.

The company denied any wrongdoing and claimed it had sympathetically cleared an “eyesore” site.

Graeme Dey MSP at the site.

Residents urged Scottish Forestry to halt the felling.

Enforcement action was taken after an investigation which was branded “total lunacy” by the site owners.

The firm was told to prepare a 10-year plan of maintenance measures to restore the land and replant trees in response to an enforcement notice by the watchdog.

Site owner James Canavan appealed against the decision but Scottish Ministers upheld the notice. Remedial works will be carried out imminently.

Local protesters were upset at the removal of the trees.

Angus South SNP MSP Graeme Dey said the saga should serve as a warning to landowners and developers.

“The path we are embarking upon is a victory for the determination of a local community that takes a real pride in the natural environment and the commitment and hard work of Scottish Forestry to secure the right outcome to what was a sorry episode.

“What occurred at the Curling Pond was completely unacceptable. The anger felt by local residents was entirely understandable.

“We cannot turn the clock back, however, thanks to the EIA Enforcement process, the landowner will have to carry out extensive remedial work to restore the site.

“And in a wider sense the outcome serves as a warning to landowners and developers that they cannot ignore environmental protections.’’

Scottish Forestry blamed the tree felling for wiping out a population of amphibians.

A toad patrol which has saved thousands of creatures each year in spawning season was also stood down after countryside rangers declared there was “little point” in continuing.

A spokesperson for Scottish Forestry said; “Woodland remedial works as required by the EIA Enforcement Notice will be carried out by the site owner this autumn.

“The works were held over from this summer to minimise the impact on the amphibian population on the site, which is most active during the summer months.”

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