For several years, I have been asking the Highland Council to accept responsibility for the section of trees that are in their ownership along Wades Road. This was a result of several complaints from nearby residents, concerned about the loss of light to their properties, the risk of damage from wind-blown branches or trees and the excessive amount of needle drop.
Earlier this year, council officers finally acknowledged that there was an issue and agreed to attend a site meeting with me, along with a tree officer. During that meeting the tree officer indicated that the conifer trees had reached their “terminal height” and many would need felling. He indicated several possible solutions, but I pushed for the removal of the conifer trees within this section. Following conversations with several residents, I confirmed to the council that the preferred option was the clear felling of the conifers, leaving any deciduous trees along the river bank. This also had the support of the Kinlochleven Community Council. This would still require a felling licence from the Forestry Commission, with a likely requirement to either replant with broadleaf species or allow natural restocking through regeneration.
Unfortunately, council officers never followed up the initial recommendation to seek quotes for this work and the case file wasn’t passed onto the new officer responsible following an internal council reorganisation. Following further explanation (to a new council officer) and perseverance five woodland contractors were asked to inspect the site and advise further. Disappointingly only one responded, advising that “a felling project within such a close proximity to the road, houses, pedestrians will require a significant amount of safety management and specialist contractors.” However, they have indicated they would be prepared to undertake the work and the council has asked for a formal quote on three options.
Hopefully, we are nearing final resolution on this long-running saga.