A82 forest operations - FAQ
We have started work on our 10 to 15 year programme of harvesting works to fell and extract mature fully-grown trees alongside the A82 between Glencoe and Inverness.
The forest is a growing resource that needs to be managed. This work needs to be done now because the trees are mature and ready for harvesting.
What will happen if you don’t fell the trees?
If we leave the trees they grow even bigger and the costs and complexities of the work increase.
Are the trees causing a risk to the road?
If the trees were left then there is an increased risk of them being blown down during periods of high winds (like the storms of December 2011). In this event the trees could fall onto the road creating unplanned disruption to road users and potentially damaging infrastructure such as powerlines.
Will removing the trees make the ground more unstable and increase the risk to the road?
In the short term this is possible but existing roots & vegetation will help hold the soil in place and additional measures such as catch fences or soil stabilisation may be used if required. Over the longer term regenerated or replanted trees will also stabilise the ground.
Will you be planting more trees to replace the ones you fell?
We will plant trees to replace those felled but we may not always be replanting with conifer trees. Some areas may not be replanted but left instead to regenerate naturally.
Is planting more trees not just creating a similar problem for the future?
No. We do not intend to create a problem for the future so some areas will not be replanted with conifers. Areas not planted with conifers will be replanted with broadleaved trees or may be allowed to regenerate with native broadleaves (like Birch and Hazel) which over the longer term will help stabilise the steep slopes.
Will you be doing it all at once?
No. The work will be planned and phased over a 10 year period. Initially we will be working in Glen Righ Forest near Fort William but over the life of the project work will be carried out along Loch Ness side and to a lesser extent near Ballachulish and Invergarry. We will plan our harvesting works to deal with priority areas first so works may alternate between different locations along the A82.
When will the work be taking place?
We will make sure that local communities, businesses and road users are kept informed of where and when we will be working and we will always aim to minimise any inconvenience.
How will you remove the felled trees?
Due to the steepness of the slopes above the A82 many of the trees felled will most likely be extracted uphill to the forest road using “skyline” which uses wire ropes and a winch system.
Who will be carrying out the work?
The work will be carried out using both Forestry Commission Scotland staff and contract teams, who will make use of every available daylight hour to carry out programmed works.
Will travel along the road be affected?
Unfortunately yes. Traffic management will be required as we fell and extract the trees so there will be some disruption to road users. Traffic management is essential to ensure the safety of both the public and that of the people carrying out the work. We will always plan our operations to ensure that inconvenience to A82 road users is minimised.
Will you be closing the road completely like you did during the recent works you carried out near Corran Ferry?
Although we have not, as yet, identified where and when, there is likely to be a need for full road closures at some point during our future works. However we are planning works that will require short periods of closure - up to 20 minutes - to allow the safe felling of some big trees on the hillside but we will advise all stakeholders well in advance of where and when this is occuring.
There are always traffic lights on the A82. How will you avoid having traffic control at the same time as other road works are taking place?
We will liaise with Transport Scotland and will, wherever possible, carry out our operations in conjunction with other works planned on the A82. This will ‘concentrate’ traffic management over a short period of time rather than dilute the traffic management over a longer period of time.
Will you affect recreation facilities like picnic areas or forest paths like the Great Glen Way?
Yes, sometimes. Public safety must come first so there will be times, when our operations are close to recreation facilities, when we will need to put suitable diversions in place or arrange alternative facilities. However we will minimise disruption as much as we can and will make sure we keep everyone well informed of our plans.
Will you disturb wildlife?
To some degree but we will minimise this by surveying forest areas before work commences in order to find out what wildlife, plants and other features are present and then using this information to plan our work accordingly. We will comply with relevant guidelines and industry best practice.
Will you be liaising with local communities who may be affected by the work?
Yes. We will make sure that local communities are kept fully up to date regarding any planned work which impacts upon them.
How will I find out if I will be affected during the work?
We will hold public information events, publish information through local media and use social media and the Forestry Commission Scotland website to let people know what we are doing.