Save Stobo Hope from Commercial Forestry Project

by Stobo Residents Action Group Ltd in Peebles, Scottish Borders, United Kingdom

Total raised £14,047

£35,000 target 7 days left
40% 166 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 3rd June 2024 at 3:20pm

Campaigning to protect nature at Stobo Hope, amidst the scenic splendour of the Southern Uplands of Scotland for future generations.

by Stobo Residents Action Group Ltd in Peebles, Scottish Borders, United Kingdom

 

An iconic landscape

Stobo Hope is a beautiful, secluded glen in the Upper Tweed area of the Scottish Borders, lying in a designated National Scenic Area. This is a valuable moorland habitat hosting a wealth of wildlife, traversed by the John Buchan Way and has many features of archaeological interest.

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Flora and fauna species present for millennia under threat 

Over 10 square kilometres of land was purchased by the Trustees of the Forestry Carbon Sequestration Fund, based in the tax haven of Guernsey. The Scottish Government (via its regulatory body Scottish Forestry) has awarded grant funding in excess of £2 million. The proposed works, which have now started, include a predominantly sitka spruce plantation covering between 6 and 7 square kilometres, several kilometres of forestry tracks and potentially up to 4 square kilometres of herbicide application. Scottish Forestry claim the project 'is not likely to cause a significant negative environmental effect' on a range of environmental indicators such as black grouse, golden eagles, landscape or cultural heritage. As with many seemingly inappropriately sited commercial coniferous forestry projects elsewhere is Scotland, the views of the local community appear to have been sidelined by Scottish Forestry.

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Our campaign

We believe and will argue that Scottish Forestry failed to follow the required protocols when assessing the application for this forestry project (by Pryor and Rickett Silviculture Ltd on behalf of True North Real Asset Partners Ltd), wrongly determining that an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was not required. It seems to us that Scottish Forestry have ignored the advice from NatureScot (another Scottish Government body) and have misunderstood or misrepresented the views of the RSPB and other consultees. Scottish Forestry also appear to have ignored the advice of its own independent landscape advisors, who suggested the project was generally inappropriate in scale and that the area would be more suitable for a greater diversity of species with a much greater emphasis on native broad-leaved woodland.

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Court of Session, Edinburgh

We are campaigning to raise a minimum of £35,000 for a Judicial Review in the Court of Session, Edinburgh, to challenge the decision by Scottish Forestry to approve this project. We hope that by reversing this decision, an alternative scheme retaining moorland with native woodland under different ownership could be considered. We also hope to raise awareness of the failure of Scottish Forestry and the Scottish Government to protect wildlife habitats, nationally important landscapes and consider the views of communities across Scotland. We hope this campaign will lead the Scottish Government to reconsider its policy towards carbon offsetting and commercial coniferous forestry schemes.

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Funding

There is uncertainty over the total costs of our challenge. This could be higher than £35,000. We may regain some of these funds if our Judicial Review is successful. We will donate any excess funds from your donations to the Borders Forest Trust (Scottish Charity No. SC024358), who have an exemplary record in landscape scale restoration, notably its 3,100 hectares of 'Wild Heart' land in Southern Scotland.

Thank you for reading our crowdfunder page and please follow us for updates.

The Stobo Residents Action Group.

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