Caledonian Properties Limited - Native Woodland Creation Proposal

This page has been set up by Baldernock Community Council to provide information to Baldernock residents and the wider community following notification of proposed woodland creation by Caledonian Properties Ltd (CPL) at 30 sites across the local area, including seven sites in Baldernock.

These can be seen on the maps below and also in the PDF file attached.

 

11 August 2021

Email from Paul Schofield, Galbraiths

Agent for Caledonian Properties Ltd.

Baldernock Community Council


To Whom it May Concern

We would be interested to hear your views about potential tree planting at various locations between Kirkintilloch and Bearsden as shown on the attached map.


The new woodlands would occupy up to 425 hectares of former grazing and reclaimed land at over 30 separate sites by the River Kelvin, Forth and Clyde Canal, Gadloch and above Balmore. This would involve the planting of some 600,000 native trees including oak, birch, rowan, alder, aspen, wild cherry, hazel and holly with open ground and wetland habitats incorporated into the design. These areas would be protected from herbivore damage by deer proof fencing with placement of self-closing pedestrian gates ensuring integration with existing public footpath networks and Rights of Way.


This project would generate significant environmental and community benefits within the Glasgow City region, expanding local native woodland habitats and linkages, providing an effective long term carbon sink, improving up-stream flood management and promoting health and well-being through enhanced opportunities for outdoor recreation.


The final design will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including historic features, breeding bird activity, protected habitats and soil quality. The areas shown on the map represent land available for planting in principle rather than the final woodland design. The project will gradually be developed as additional information becomes available.


If you have any initial comments, concerns or relevant background information then please respond in writing by Friday 24th September 2021. 


We will contact all stakeholders again at a later stage but in the meantime, please contact the undersigned if you would like to discuss any aspect of this proposal.


Kind regards


Paul Schofield

MICFor

For Galbraith, Lyndoch House, Barossa Place, Perth PH1 5EP 
M : 07717 227417 | DD : 01738 456064

galbraithgroup.com

 
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Baldernock - proposed tree planting by Caledonian Properties Ltd

The map below shows the seven areas in Baldernock allocated for tree-planting by CPL - 11,12,13,14,15,16 and 17.  These areas are colour-coded green by CPL:  
Potential Tree Planting Land - FORMER GRAZING OR UNPRODUCTIVE LAND.

 
CPL Baldernock tree-planting.png
 

Baldernock - sites 14, 15 and 16, Bargeny Hill and Back O' Hill

These three sites: 14, 15 and 16 are colour-coded green by CPL:  
Potential Tree Planting Land - FORMER GRAZING OR UNPRODUCTIVE LAND.
Our recent assessment of the particular areas at Bargeny Hill and Back O' Hill is shown in the map following - current use of the land.

 
Back O' Hill land use
 

Baldernock Community Council Meeting 19 October 2021

Baldernock Community Council


Summary of meeting held via Zoom on 19th October 2021 to discuss plans for tree planting in Baldernock



Present: Baldernock Community Council: Anne McNair (Chairperson), Celia Burns, Secretary, Peter Langhorne, Treasurer, Elspeth Fulton (minutes), Fiona Grier, Fiona Howie.

Baldernock Amenity Society: Geraldine Perriam

Representatives from local farming community who were co-ordinated by Antoinette Imrie, Hillhead Farm and David Ralston, Castlehill Farm


Anne McNair opened the meeting by explaining that Paul Schofield from Galbraiths, agents for Caledonian Property, had sent an e-mail dated 11th August, inviting comments from the Community Council with regard to plans for tree planting in the area. The e-mail was sent to an old e-mail address; as a consequence, she did not become aware of it until recently. The deadline for comments was 24th September. Anne had contacted Mr. Schofield, who had said that the consultation was an ongoing process. 

Anne then saw a map of the proposed planting area, some of which was described as grazing/unproductive land. It was apparent that this land was currently being used for cattle, sheep and horses and was not therefore unproductive. It is understood that there is currently grant aid available for tree planting. 

There was discussion about the proposals. It would appear that Caledonian Property do not require planning permission, although there is ongoing consultation between Galbraiths and the Council. 

Local farmers had written to Galbraiths: none had received a reply. 

Wullie Grey noted that there were similar concerns about the impact of tree planting on farming across the UK. Land is being bought up for tree planting at prices out of the reach of local farmers. The NFU was opposed to the tree planting scheme as it currently stands.


Concerns expressed were as follows:

  • The planting is likely to be ‘block planting’ for commercial use, which is dense, unattractive and not in keeping with current landscape.

  • There will be 6’ high fencing to exclude deer.

  • The planting will involve the use of heavy vehicles, causing traffic problems on narrow rural roads

Of significant concern to those present was the loss of local farmland. 

  • Once the trees are planted, the land cannot be recovered for agricultural use 

  • The rural landscape, with open views of fields, hedgerows and belts of woodland at the fields’ margins will be completely changed

  • The changed landscape will not attract tourists to the area.

  • Local houses will be completely surrounded by trees. 

  • Back O’ Hill farm will no longer be viable as agricultural land

  • Local farmers’ livelihoods will be affected– some local families have farmed land here for generations. For those who have worked land here, the work they have put into improving the land will have been wasted. 

  • Local farmers are producing food in a sustainable way – surely this is better than importing it?

  • Local farmers are implementing policies which encourage bio-diversity and reduce the use of pesticides. 

  • The area of land under discussion has diverse species of flora, fauna, birds and insects.  Bargeny Hill in particular has been surveyed and has been noted to have diverse and rare flora. This environment will be destroyed due to loss of habitat. 


Finally, Geraldine said that this was not just about planting trees, it was about a threat to people’s way of life. 

 

Update

October/November 2021

Baldernock Community Council responded to CPL, thanking them for giving us the opportunity to comment on the proposals and outlining our concerns. 

". . .  Representatives from our Community Council have discussed the plans. We were concerned about the impact of the proposed tree planting on local farmland and on wildlife.

At present most of the proposed planting area is under agricultural use. We were therefore puzzled as to why it is described on the map provided as Former Grazing and Unproductive Land and we wondered if you could tell us how this designation was arrived at?

We have attached an illustration to show a recent day's example of current field use."

This was not addressed in their response but CPL advised that they will be contacting all grazing tenants individually to discuss specific concerns and how these can best be addressed.

​and continued . . .

"The process of obtaining grant approval for woodland creation schemes is rigorous and aims to identify specific constraints and sensitivities of all types so that appropriate mitigation can be applied. This may mean that planting is not appropriate on some sites. On other sites, it may be necessary to adapt the planting design in some way to reduce impact.

We obtain information about planting sites partly by consulting widely with statutory and non-statutory stakeholders. For ecological matters, this includes NatureScot, RSPB and local authorities. We are also required to carry out specialist ecological survey work to identify notable and sensitive species and habitats. Through this process we aim to achieve the correct balance between woodland and other habitats such as wetlands and species rich grassland. For example, one field (15n) is a candidate SSSI and therefore not suitable for planting. Our survey work next year will help to inform the final woodland design which will include significant areas of open ground and the retention of existing habitat features with particular wildlife interest.

We will provide further updates as things progress."

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Emails have been sent to EDC councillors: 

  • questioning the description of farmland as Former Grazing or Unproductive Land

  • expressing the concern of farmers about the impact of the plans, particularly local tenant farmers

  • appreciating the need for tree-planting to combat climate change

  • expressing concern about the loss of local landscape and impact on tourism, environment, biodiversity, flora and wildlife

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Rona Mackay, MSP, has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs regarding our concerns.

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BCC has been in contact with Torrance Community Council, which has also responded to CPL - their main concerns being:

  • outdoor recreation

  • biodiversity

  • impact on wildlife and species

  • woodland management

  • flood prevention

  • retention of scrubland

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Contact has been made with the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS) resulting in useful information, including links to many websites giving advice regarding agriculture, forestry, and farm tenancy.

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Useful links

Agricultural holdings and tenant farming guide

https://www.gov.scot/publications/agricultural-holdings-and-tenant-farming-guide/


Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland https://aprs.scot

Forestry and Woodland Strategy for Glasgow City Region 2020 (includes East Dunbartonshire)

https://www.clydeplan-sdpa.gov.uk

Forestry Grant Scheme

https://www.ruralpayments.org/publicsite/futures/topics/all-schemes/forestry-grant-scheme/

Galbraith Group https://www.galbraithgroup.com

Institute of Chartered Foresters https://www.charteredforesters.org

National Farmers Union https://www.nfuonline.com

Scottish Forestry https://forestry.gov.scot

Scottish Land Commission https://www.landcommission.gov.scot

Scottish Land Court http://www.scottish-land-court.org.uk

UK Woodland Carbon Code (includes the UK Land Carbon Registry)  

https://www.woodlandcarboncode.org.uk

 

For more information - or to add to this page, please contact Baldernock Community Council e: baldernockcc@gmail.com

 
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