Developer made to replant ancient pine wood felled for car park

A hotel developer has been forced to restore part of an ancient woodland in the Cairngorms National Park after it illegally felled trees to make way for a car park without carrying out an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

Image: Peter Bond (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Image: Peter Bond (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Aberdeenshire-listed Halle Enterprises was forced to replant 300 pine and birch trees near its Carrbridge Hotel north of Aviemore, after it illegally felled part of a Scots pine forest, a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) priority habitat.

Scottish Forestry, previously Forestry Commission Scotland, confirmed that the business had planted the saplings, but added that the company would need to monitor and protect the trees for the next 10 years.

In January last year, Halle Enterprises began felling trees to make way for a car park for 39 cars and four coaches in ancient woodland without permission from the forestry regulator.

The regulator issued two enforcement notices under the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) Regulations 2017. The company initially challenged the enforcement notices but later backed down.

In April this year the Cairngorms National Park Authority refused planning permission for Halle Enterprises’ car park, and following an appeal, an independent reporter of the planning and environmental appeals division of the Scottish government confirmed that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was required for the work.

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