A furious row has blown up after the owners of a woodland site in Monikie branded enforcement action taken against them as “total lunacy”.
They have been told to prepare a 10-year plan of maintenance measures to fully restore the land and re-plant trees at the former curling pond following felling work.
Forestry Commission Scotland said the operational works undertaken at the site were “exceptional” and likely to have had “significant effects on the environment”.
Ayrshire-based Avancan Property Management director William McTeir said they would appeal against the decision, which he described as ”complete nonsense” after claiming the company had “sympathetically” cleared the “eyesore” site.
“It’s complete nonsense and doing what they’re asking would be of no value whatsoever to anyone except the usual group of activists who seem hell-bent on getting their own way at whatever the cost to the community,” he said.
“We will take this as far as we can and will now bring in professionals to counteract this total lunacy. We will be appealing and will by no means be bullied into reinstalling an eyesore.”
Mr McTeir denied the work had caused a significant impact on amphibians and said wildlife “was not abundant like some African savannah”.
A Forestry Commission Scotland report issued following January’s investigation states the site was an important habitat for amphibians including common toads, frogs and palmate newts.
It said: “The works undertaken on site have effectively completely removed the wet woodland and associated flora and habitat.
“The works on site are likely to have and have had a significant adverse impact on amphibians on the site through the removal of the woodland, the attempted draining of the site and the use of heavy machinery across the site destroying all ground flora and compacting soils.
“The nature, quality and age of this semi-natural woodland habitat, the almost complete destruction of that habitat, the irreversibility of the impacts in the short and medium term, the importance of the site for amphibians including the common toad, the key connectivity with the wetlands in Monikie country park and the value of the site as part of an important local community project, demonstrate the exceptional circumstances which make it likely that the forestry project will have significant effects on the environment.”
A spokesperson for Forestry Commission Scotland said the probe established the woodland removal required its consent.
“The site owner has been advised and we have also explained what restorative actions are now required at the site, along with an indicative schedule of when these works are to be completed.
“We will continue to monitor the situation.”
Countryside Ranger Tim Caselton predicted amphibians numbers will be “significantly” reduced as a result of the tree felling.