The time has come for urgent action to be taken to tame wild woodland in Glenrothes, it has been claimed.
Councillor John Wincott has told The Courier a liaison group to address residents’ concerns is not working and more must be done to address the problem.
He said he is receiving a steady stream of complaints from constituents about the way in which the town’s green areas are maintained, despite the three responsible bodies Fife Council, the Woodland Trust and Greenbelt meeting on a quarterly basis.
With summer approaching and problems involving woodland likely to come to the fore, Mr Wincott will attend liaison group meetings on behalf of all town councillors.
He said: “Many people in Glenrothes have been deeply unhappy with the service provided by the Woodland Trust, and their contractor Greenbelt, for a number of years.
“When the liaison committee was first put together in 2013, two councillors sat in on the first meeting to oversee the initial set-up, but after that their role was over.
“This new appointment is a permanent one where I will be attending all of the meetings going forward to make sure that the residents’ concerns are heard clearly by the Woodland Trust.
“I will also be talking to council officers to find out exactly what the legal position is regarding the obligations on Woodland Trust regarding their commitment to manage the woodland around Glenrothes.
“This will enable me to judge the woodland maintenance performance against the expectations held by the council.”
The Woodland Trust purchased large parts of the town’s woodland estate when Glenrothes Development Corporation was wound up in 1995.
Parts of the estate are subcontracted to Greenbelt on a long lease, for which a 10-year management plan was approved by the Woodland Trust in 2012.
However, town councillors have raised concerns about the management of sites disponed to the charity, prompting an agreement in 2013 to host regular three-way meetings to eliminate further problems.
Tim Hall, head of operations for the Woodland Trust Scotland, said: “The Woodland Trust is unable to intervene in the day-to-day management of woodland leased to Greenbelt Group. Since the group was established there has been better communication between members and Greenbelt Group now keeps a log of all inquiries that are reported to them.
“It’s always disappointing to hear that people have concerns about the management of the woodland. Members of the public who want to report issues such as overhanging branches should contact Greenbelt Group in writing at email@example.com.”
Meanwhile, Greenbelt has told The Courier that it carries out maintenance in accordance with a woodland management plan, in order to create a “sustainable and viable” woodland for Glenrothes.
A company spokesperson said: “Councillor Wincott has not contacted Greenbelt on this particular matter, however his and the council’s sudden and renewed interest in Glenrothes woodland is most welcome. We look forward to working with him and receiving the input his new role will bring.”