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Just under 11 hectares of trees were damaged on Arran last year when storm Arwen struck in late November bringing winds in excess of 100mph and causing widespread devastation.
Nationally, three people died during the storm, tens of thousands were left without power and around 8,000 hectares – containing approximately 16 million trees – were damaged.
The figure of 10.91 hectares on Arran is derived from computer modelling conducted by Forest Research and includes areas near Kilpatrick, Auchenhew Hill, Cnoc Comhairlie, above Brodick and near the Ross Road.
The devastation was so widespread that Scottish Forestry had to introduce extra staff to assist in various locations as they fast tracked the necessary paperwork to handle windblown trees.
Usually taking up to six weeks, the average turnaround time for the paperwork was reduced to 16 days with staff at Scottish Forestry approving 5,000 hectares worth of felling permissions with at least 2,000 more to go.
Doug Howieson, Scottish Forestry’s head of operational delivery, said: ‘The winter storms have put us under a lot of pressure but we’ve been up to the challenge. Staff have worked tirelessly with the industry on managing the aftermath and have put in a heroic shift.
‘Felling permission applications, which are needed for windblown trees, are starting to slow down now which is a good indication that we are past the initial emergency phase of this work.’
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) teams have been working with contractors to deal with the significant levels of storm damage in the national forests it manages and while some areas are likely to remain restricted for months, many areas have started to open up for recreational access.
On Arran, the vast majority of FLS managed properties have re-opened, with the exception of Glenashdale Falls which is currently closed due to forestry operations, however, FLS recommend checking its website for updates before visiting any of its properties.
The huge recovery operation was praised by environment minister Màiri McAllan who said: ‘Although it now seems a long time ago, the effects of Storm Arwen and the following winter storms are still being felt.
‘Many landowners are still clearing up and this will continue for months to come. The forestry sector had its mettle thoroughly tested but it has shown its resilience and is managing the aftermath very well.
‘The way so many parts of the industry have pulled together is admirable.’
The data has been used to create storm damage mapping which can be found on the Scottish Forestry website at https://forestry.gov.scot/
Environment minister Màiri McAllan praised the forestry sector for the way it dealt with the aftermath of the storm. No_B14forest01
The extent of the tree damage from Storm Arwen can be seen in this image of Glentress near Peebles in the Borders. No_B14forest02