Helicopter help for Rest & Be Thankful fencing
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is advising road users that there will be some traffic management on the A83 at Glen Croe later this month (25th and 26th Feb) as the next phase of the long-term slope stabilisation project gets underway.
The woodland creation project at the Rest & Be Thankful is a partnership project between FLS, Transport Scotland and BEAR Scotland, that aims to contribute to a long-term and significant reduction in the risk of road-closing landslips.
Before planting on the slopes begins in October this year, FLS teams will be working hard to remove old deer fencing and install new fencing along the 9km perimeter of the site. Because of the challenging nature or the site, fencing materials will have to be lifted in by helicopter.
Although its flightpath will mostly be contained within the site, there will be occasions where it will have to fly close to the road, which for safety reasons will mean that road traffic will be halted.
James Hand, MICFor Operations Forester with FLS, said;
“We’re tackling this huge job in three sections, starting at the northern end of the site. The idea will be to replace the old deer fencing but on such a challenging site, we’re going to need the help of a helicopter to get the materials in place – and to take away the waste.
“We’ll be starting with the ‘uphill’ sections so the helicopter will be able to safely fly within the site boundary. However, for public safety, we will need to stop traffic for short periods – 8-10 minutes at most - when the helicopter is moving materials in to position for work on the roadside section.
“This will only be as and when required and we will do our best to keep stoppages to a minimum. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience that this might cause.”
The fencing at the northern end of the site is the first of three stages. Stages two and three – fencing the bealach between Beinn Luibhean and Beinn Ime, and the downhill stretch from the southern end of the bealach to roadside – will begin in May.
The helicopter flights for the northern section will take place on 25 and 26 Feb, with flying time between 7:30am and 4:30pm.
A key element of the project, deer fencing offers essential protection for young trees, which for the first six years of their growth are extremely vulnerable to browsing damage from deer, and to a lesser extent, sheep and goats.
“The fencing at Glen Croe will give the trees that will be planted in October - downy birch, aspen, oak, blackthorn, hawthorn, hazel, juniper and Scot pine - their best chance of reaching maturity and giving the roots time to establish and begin to bind the slope – an effect that will cumulatively increase, year on year.
“The trees will complement the "hard" engineering that has been done at the site to help stabilize the slope and protect the road infrastructure. Working in tandem, both approaches will help to mitigate the challenges presented by this notoriously unstable slope.”
At any one time, across Scotland FLS is working to protect around 150 million young trees, which includes maintaining 2,500 kilometers of deer fencing – enough to stretch from Edinburgh to Berlin and back.
Notes to editors
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.