Garvald Woodlands Project – Phase Two (Papana Bank Conifers)

An update from Karl Ingram:

It has been a year since the public consultation was held for this project so I would like to update you on how it stands at the moment.

This project was set up in order to:
– Finish the work started in Phase One by removing the rest of the old conifers on the bank and replanting with mixed woodland.
– Avoid the potential dangers of old trees falling and/or the accidental damming up of the burn.
– Let more light into the existing mixed woodland to the north of Papana Burn to strengthen tree growth and allow more winter daylight to filter through to West end properties.
– Replace an existing area of unmanaged, closely-planted conifers with an attractive area of broadleaved woodland that would improve the village appearance and reinstate native trees.
– Rejuvenate the woodland floor and invigorate the ecosystem on the hillside with a diverse range of plants and animals.

After contacting GMCC about this project in March 2014 I was asked to arrange a public consultation and get a quote from Scottish Woodlands, based on the process used to complete Phase One, which was funded by Crystal Rig windfarm grant money. The project was backed by a mandate from village residents, gained through public consultation last summer, with 93% of respondents supporting the project. Having received backing from village it took eight months for Scottish Woodlands to forward their quote of £36,000, which was deemed too expensive. The Community Council asked me to obtain more quotes to reduce the costs involved, as well as obtain a written agreement from Nunraw Abbey so that the work could go ahead. Agreement from Nunraw was confirmed and three local forestry management companies were contacted, with the best quote coming to a maximum £24,850 inc. VAT (inclusive of a maximum of eight weeks’ work, to fell the trees using a forwarder/winch due to the steep terrain, replanting and weedkiller costs). This figure takes into account estimated timber sales proceeds and would be reduced if the work took less than eight weeks.

This quote was taken to the GMCC’s April meeting. I am disappointed to report that after a year’s work collating the information required to put forward a windfarm grant application, at this point the committee decided they would not fund the project using windfarm grant money, saying that it would be difficult to justify committing this amount from Crystal Rig funds.

We are currently looking into alternative funding solutions such as East Lothian Council’s Community Intervention Fund. I firmly believe that it is a worthwhile project for the village; to complete the work started in Phase One and improve the area for villagers and wildlife alike.