A £35,000 fundraising appeal was launched this week in support of a legal bid to protect a secluded glen in the Upper Tweed area of the Borders from commercial forestry.

Stobo Residents Action Group is campaigning to protect nature at Stobo Hope, located amidst the scenic splendour of the southern uplands of Scotland, for future generations.

Stobo Hope lies in a designated National Scenic Area and is a valuable moorland habitat hosting a wealth of wildlife, traversed by the John Buchan Way and has many features of archaeological interest.

Over 10 square kilometres of land was purchased by the Forestry Carbon Sequestration Fund, supported by £2 million in funding from Scottish Government.

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The proposed works, which have now started, include a predominantly sitka spruce plantation covering between six and seven square km, several km of forestry tracks and potentially up to four square km of herbicide application.

Scottish Forestry claim the project “is not likely to cause a significant negative environmental effect” on a range of environmental indicators such as black grouse, golden eagles, landscape or cultural heritage.

But that is not the view of the local action group, which has launched a Crowdfunder appeal to raise funds for legal action.

A spokesperson said: “We believe and will argue that Scottish Forestry failed to follow the required protocols when assessing the application for this forestry project, wrongly determining that an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was not required.

“It seems to us that Scottish Forestry have ignored the advice from NatureScot (another Scottish Government body) and have misunderstood or misrepresented the views of the RSPB and other consultees. 

“We are campaigning to raise a minimum of £35,000 for a Judicial Review in the Court of Session, Edinburgh, to challenge the decision by Scottish Forestry to approve this project.

“We hope that by reversing this decision, an alternative scheme retaining moorland with native woodland under different ownership could be considered.

“We also hope to raise awareness of the failure of Scottish Forestry and the Scottish Government to protect wildlife habitats, nationally important landscapes and consider the views of communities across Scotland.

“We hope this campaign will lead the Scottish Government to reconsider its policy towards carbon offsetting and commercial coniferous forestry schemes.”

Click HERE to find out more about the appeal.