Dear Sir,
It is slightly encouraging to note the dismissal by Roseanna Cunningham, Scottish environment minister, of reports that the Forestry Commission Scotland might be required to sell off its forests in line with its English counterpart, (your report, 25 October).
Many will concur with her affirmation that "we believe Scotland's national forests are a very precious asset" and her earlier "it is quite shocking to think that we only have a tiny remnant of our original native woodland left, due to historical exploitation" (your report, 11 May).

It is all the more puzzling, and unacceptable, therefore, that the Scottish Government has done nothing to prevent the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) from targeting native woodlands for housing developments in its local plan.

This latter is due to be adopted on 29 October, and includes provision for several hundred houses that will destroy areas of pinewoods, some listed as ancient woodland.

Scottish Government reporters advised against these housing allocations in woodlands, following a local plan inquiry (LPI) in 2009, but the CNPA largely ignored their recommendations. Now, despite receiving a letter signed by 16 environmental organisations urging Scottish ministers to intervene and recommending "broad acceptance of the findings" of the LPI, no action has been taken by government. Ms Cunningham may be shocked at the historic destruction of Scotland's native woodlands. Many will be shocked at her failure to prevent further such destruction in Scotland's premier national park.
Roy Turnbull
Vice-convener, BSCG

Original published letter in The Scotsman: