Felling of pine trees infected with Dothistroma blamed for flooding problems in northern Scotland

Forestry Commission Scotland has been blamed for exacerbating flooding where it has clear-felled pine forests infected with Dothistroma needle blight (DNB).

Image: Phillip Capper
Image: Phillip Capper

Farmer Jonathan Hampton of Ardgay, Sutherland has said the felling of a plantation near to his land has led to more frequent and more severe flooding of the rivel Oykel, but that both Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) had shown "little interest" in the problem.

He is now considering lodging a compensation claim for flood damage to his property.

"There is indeed a bleak future for local inhabitants," he said in a letter to a local newspaper.

"The rules and regulations for private foresters are draconian but for other bureaucracies they are totally ignored. There seems to be no flood risk management plan to alleviate the problems."

A Forestry Commission Scotland representative said: "We work closely with neighbouring landowners and consultees to ensure that our activities do not have an adverse impact on water quality and we work to improve the water environment.

"As part of our recent felling activities we completed a small amount of bog restoration work, which should help to slow down runoff from hill land within the catchment. We have met Mr Hampton to explain the programme of works and would be happy to do so again."

The river Oykel is designated a European Special Area of Conservation because it supports high numbers of fresh water pearl mussels as well as salmon.

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