21.07.2015

Beech trees poisoned on Inchtavannach Island

Luss Estates outraged at poisoning of 300 year old beech trees on Inchtavannach Island, Loch Lomond by Scottish Natural Heritage

Hundreds of native beech trees, many over 300 years old, have been poisoned on Inchtavannach Island, Loch Lomond by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Luss Estates’ owner, Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, said: “I am outraged and shocked at this act of wanton vandalism, and the resulting blight on the landscape of Inchtavannach Island. It will take years and indeed generations for the canopy to recover and this beautiful view to be restored. I simply cannot understand why the supposed guardian of our natural heritage has killed off these wonderful trees for no apparent reason.

“We have sent a very strongly worded letter to Ms Susan Davies, Chief Executive of Scottish Natural Heritage, asking for an immediate explanation of its actions.”

In 2013 SNH entered into an agreement with the tenant of Inchtavannach Island to remove rhododendron from the island. The agreement also provided for the mature beech trees to be felled gradually over a five year period.

However, SNH has apparently decided to ring-bark and poison hundreds of mature beech trees, and in the process created a ‘dead’ canopy. It is now also feared that the dead trees will shed branches which will be a danger to the many visitors who come to Inchtavannach each year.

Chairman of the Community Council, Ian MacEachern said that local residents are appalled.

“To say we are annoyed is an understatement,” said Mr MacEachern. “The mature beech trees on Inchtavannach added greatly to the visual impact of Loch Lomond, for residents and visitors, particularly in the autumn. This act of vandalism is a travesty and tragically cannot be restored in our lifetime.”

Chief Executive of Luss Estates, Simon Miller, said that if the felling of the mature beech trees had been carried out as provided for in the agreement, the estate would have immediately sought to re-negotiate the agreement.

“Regrettably we didn’t give sufficient consideration to the impact of the proposed felling of the mature beech trees on the island when our consent was sought. If we had appreciated this, we would certainly have withdrawn our consent.”

Luss Estates has asked SNH to explain why it did not comply with the management agreement to fell the mature beech trees. Simon Miller has also asked SNH if it had a felling licence to kill the mature trees from Forestry Commission Scotland and if not, was the decision to poison them taken in order to get around the need for a felling licence.

Simon Miller continued: “We want to know what measures SNH proposes to undertake to replace the tree cover on the island, having killed such a large number of mature native beech trees. We are assessing the scale of the destruction, valuing the trees killed and instructing a tree surveyor to assess the public liability risks and remedial costs. We expect SNH to foot the bill for this work.”

 

Media contact: Simon Miller Luss Estates 01389 713100 simon.miller@lussestates.co.uk