This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

RSPB defends bog repair project

This news post is about 10 years old

​RSPB Scotland say its involvement in the Flow to the Future project sits well within its values.

A wildlife and conservation charity has blasted objectors who accused it of hypocrisy over plans for a multi-million pound project in Caithness and Sutherland.

RSPB Scotlandsays the £9.6 million Flow to the Future development undertaken by the Peatlands Partnership, of which it is a member, will restore miles of damaged bog at Forsinard Flows nature reserve in Sutherland and build a field study centre and an observatory which will allow people to develop a better understanding of the internationally important habitat.

The greater part of the £9.6m project budget will be spent on restoring no less than seven square miles of deep blanket bog that was very badly damaged in the 1980s

However objectors living in the area alleged in a national newspaper yesterday the project was against the conservation values promoted by RSPB Scotland.

Osbert Doehl who lives in the Highland hamlet of Forsinard and is leading the campaign against the development, said it would shatter the peace and quiet of the area, affect the water supply and ultimately have an effect on wildlife.

He went on to describe the field centre as a modern monstrosity adorned with wood and glass.

RSPB Scotland director Stuart Housden told TFN the accusation that it is guilty of green hypocrisy was simply without foundation.

“While we acknowledge that there is some limited opposition to some elements of the project, the great majority of the responses we have received from our extensive public consultation, and a very well attended public meeting held in Strath Halladale, confirm the considerable local support for the project,” he said.

“The greater part of the £9.6m project budget will be spent on restoring no less than seven square miles of deep blanket bog that was very badly damaged in the 1980s.

“This will bring significant benefits in terms of carbon sequestration, which will mitigate against climate change, and wildlife.

“The work will be carried out over several years and should benefit a range of local contractors bringing welcome employment benefits to an area badly in need of them.”

Planning consent for the two-storey field centre and viewing observatory has already been granted but objectors are calling for the Heritage Lottery Fund to reject a funding application.

Housden added: “I can assure you that the Peatlands Partnership organisations, including RSPB Scotland, take their responsibilities to the environment extremely seriously. So far as we are concerned the Flow Country is one of the “jewels in the crown” of Scotland’s natural heritage.

“We simply wish to ensure that this precious habitat is properly protected and restored and that the people of Scotland, and beyond, gain a lasting opportunity to see and appreciate this extraordinary landscape.”