Science park trees axed

Some of the chopped seven oaks that were maturing at the new science park development at Dunstaffnage

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Seven maturing oak trees have been axed on the new science park development site at Dunstaffnage.

A number of other smaller trees at the multi-million pound site have also been chopped.

The oaks were believed to have been planted by Highlands & Islands Enterprise  at the time that Malin House, the first of the European Science Park buildings, was built.

A concerned Oban Times reader who got in touch described it as ‘tree vandalism’ and said: ‘HIE could  surely have arranged for them to be dug up, roots and all, and repositioned elsewhere rather than having them felled?  It appears to me that the stumps and roots will have to be grubbed up anyway if the land margin is needed.

‘We are being encouraged to plant trees to mitigate against climate change and the ones that were chopped down were perfectly healthy and, indeed, valuable.  Oak is one of the most important for diversity of habitat.’

The UK only has 13 per cent tree cover, the reader added: ‘At a time when many people are putting a lot of time and effort into trying to increase that percentage, the way these trees have been treated seems thoughtless and wrong.’

HIE told The Oban Times some trees were being removed in preparation for road widening and the creation of a new parking area.

In December 2019 plans were revealed to build a new research and development lab at the science park where a number of marine-related businesses are based.

HIE opened the £7.5 million centre next to the Scottish Association for Marine Science (Sams) in 2014 to benefit the local economy.

A spokesperson  for HIE said: ‘Some trees are being removed at the European Marine Science Centre in preparation for road widening and the creation of a new parking area.

‘We completely understand that some people will be concerned about this, however we can offer reassurance that many of the trees have been replanted off-site. We can also confirm that additional tree and shrub planting will be included in the significant landscaping that will be carried out under this next phase of development.’

He added: ‘In keeping with the low-carbon ethos of the park, new electric vehicle charging points will also be installed.’