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Tree clearing advice issued in wake of winter storms

GUIDANCE: The information is directed at landowners who have no previous experience of damage on this scale.

Practical advice on clearing windblown and storm-damaged trees has been issued for farmers and the owners of small woodlands in the wake of this winter’s storms.

Scottish Forestry and rural organisations have published the guidance which is aimed at landowners who may not have experienced tree damage on this scale before.

It has been estimated that eight million trees were brought down by Storm Arwen alone, and storms Malik, Corrie, Dudley and Eunice piled extra pressure on more already weakened and vulnerable trees.

The guidance comes in the form of a top 10 checklist which is designed to help woodland owners manage the recovery of timber, There are also notes with more detailed information.

Andy Leitch, the deputy chief executive of forestry body Confor, said the sector is working through the extra volumes of timber that is now available, and coordinating its recovery.

Storm Arwen damage in Glenisla.

He added: ”This is new territory for many of those affected and it is important to provide them with clear, pragmatic advice – as part of a coordinated approach to the wider impact of the winter storms.

“As part of this package of support, Confor has published a list of member companies who are able to offer that advice.”

Scottish Forestry say they have been deploying staff to the areas most affected and paperwork – including felling permissions which are needed for windblow – are being fast tracked in around 14 days, instead of the usual six weeks.

NFU Scotland (NFUS) rural policy advisor Rhianna Montgomery said:

“Scotland’s farmers and crofters have been battered by a succession of storms this winter that have wreaked significant damage and disruption across many parts.”

Trees damaged by the storm near Kirriemuir.

Welcoming the guidance, Environment Minister Màiri McAllan said a number of meetings have taken place in the wake of the the first storm.

“The forest industries pulled together and started strategic work to plan out the recovery of fallen and damaged trees,” she said.

The Forest Research agency has been supplying satellite based data to help the industry quantify how much timber has been affected.

Guidance has already been issued to help woodland owners make best use of quality hardwoods that have been brought down by the storms.

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