Sheila and Rod Flavell are the new owners of Logiealmond Estate which was previously known as South Logiealmond. They are being represented by Tilhill and we understand their intention is to create an extensive plantation of the controversial Sitka Spruce which will dominate this beautiful part of Perthshire. Many of us in Logiealmond and Glenalmond are very concerned about the impact of this development which we accept is of considerable financial benefit to Rod and Sheila Flavell but we also feel of little benefit to the local environment or economy.
We understand Rod and Sheila Flavell to be amicable, approachable and certainly very successful with their FDM Company ( FDM Group Wikipedia ). The company is now publicly traded and has been a shining beacon in gender equal pay and supporting many good causes. Their success is staggering with appearances on the recent Times Newspaper Rich List. On their website ( FDM Group they have a headline .... "Say it as it is " and go on to refer how they believe in 'diversity' and 'inclusion'. We hope they will afford the residents of Logiealmond and Glenalmond the same and listen carefully to our concerns.
As residents of Glenalmond and Logiealmond we hope that they will change their minds over having such an extensive and damaging project ( Logiealmond Development plan ). We believe having such an enormous area of sterile Sitka Spruce will have a serious effect on the attractiveness of the glen, both with regards to wildlife and for economic reasons. Estates like Skibo realise the importance and economic opportunities of preserving historic landscapes as well as wildlife habitats and hence attract tourists who want to have a more Scottish experience, rather than being surrounded by a monoculture of Sitka Spruce. They write on their website the importance of their visitors being "immersed and experiencing a genuine Scottish landscape". Another example is the Glen Tanar Estate that has a healthy balance of wildlife tourism, forestry and shooting. Wildlife tourism brings into the Scottish economy in excess of £1.4 billion each year. The figures for these growing sectors are astonishing, such as hill walking now generating £533 million per annum, landscape and scenery tourism £420 million with the more traditional Field sports at £136 million. Ref. https://www.nature.scot/sites/default/files/2017-06/B732000.pdf With the probable licensing of shooting estates, if not this year then in the near future, one can understand why many of the more progressive estates are looking at the longer term and exploring new opportunities. Sitka Spruce may be a cash crop, but many within the community are aware and very concerned of the environmental issues having a monoculture creates. The arguments of storing carbon are stronger with mixed woodlands and the economics of the growing wildlife tourism sector is compelling. I feel much of the concerns towards the proposed 70% Sitka Spruce at Logiealmond Estate would be replaced with support if the estate chose to follow a more environmentally sympathetic planting proposal. Other concerns are for the ground nesting birds on the lower fields, especially behind Harrietfield. The area to the north of Harrietfield and just to the north of the farm at Kindrumpark is a beautiful wilderness with tens of pairs of curlews nesting on the land. Due to destruction of its natural habitat the curlew population has declined by 42% in the UK in the past 20 years and it is now on the British Trust for Ornithology red-list. The proposed development at Logiealmond Estate would constitute another nail in the coffin for this beautiful endangered bird. I understand Tilhill manage re wilding projects and this would also be in keeping with creating a landscape that both is attractive to tourism as well as to the local community. I hope Rod and Sheila Flavell consider the above as I believe that a 70% Sitka Spruce plantation in Logiealmond could devalue the estate despite the generous grant and timber revenues. There are places for such developments, but Logiealmond has so many other assets which will be lost forever if this proposal goes ahead.
As at May 2019 a poll we have been running ( Logiealmond Estate poll ) is showing 80% of voters believe the proposed Logiealmond Estate forestry development will not be in keeping with the historic landscape of the glen. Also, 90% believe that the community have not been given enough information by Tilhill on the likely impact of the plans including level of increased traffic, access roads, disruption to wildlife including ground nesting birds etc. We appreciate that these polls are not definitive but we feel they do echo public opinion. We hope that Tilhill are relaying to Rod and Sheila Flavell these feelings and hope, like in their FDM Group business ventures, they afford us the same understanding and a recognition of our concerns.
We are in contact with Lesley Riddoch, Andy Wightman, Mark Ruskell, Roseanna Cunningham and other high ranking land reform campaigners, politicians and academics. Our polls show a strong desire to have a comprehensive and full environment impact assessment. If you are interested in providing information which you believe would be helpful for Mr and Mrs Flavell in deciding whether or not to proceed with the Sitka Spruce plantation at Logiealmond, please contact us via The Almond Community Group