As local residents will have seen on Tuesday (26 July), a helicopter was spraying the hills above Ardentinny forest. A similar operation was carried out in August last year. At that time Russell Lamont, the FCS Environment Manager, assured us that the community would be advised of future spraying operations. Unfortunately this did not happen.
Cowal & Trossachs Forestry Director, Gordon Donaldson has informed us that FCS had been contacted regarding the spraying but was unsure as to whether the contact was made by David Marshall or the contractor carrying out the work.
Gordon Donaldson said “When the contact was made the date and time of the work was not known as this is dependent on the weather, however Russell reminded them to contact the local community and other departments to keep them informed. Unfortunately, from your contact and the number of calls we fielded on the day, this has clearly not been done. I have made contact with David by email informing him that in future he must do this”. He continued “I am sorry that contact has again not taken but can confirm that the work being done was similar to that outlined by Russell last year in his email contact with you then”.
Considering that the aerial spraying was undertaken on what was one of the hottest days so far, the likelihood of walkers being in the vicinity was very real. The lack of any advance notice to the community or any form of warning signage in the area is an issue of concern.
Update 1 August
We have today received the following correction from Gordon Donaldson, FCS:
Contrary to the supposition of my email to you, when I deduced from the number of calls we received about the spraying that community contact had not been made, I am now able to correct that position.
David Marshall has contacted me and he has informed me that both the Ardentinny and the Benmore and Kilmun CC’s were informed of the intention to spray, by email on the 12th July 2011. He also intimated to me that neither CC made any comment in response to the contact. In addition he confirmed that SEPA and the MOD were fully informed of the planned helicopter spraying.
I should also add that spraying of this kind is not effective in wet weather so any planned spraying needs to wait for a suitable weather window and therefore can not be set by date and time.
We have contacted Ardentinny Community Council inviting their comment on this issue.