CONCERNS have been raised that forestry plans may leave the John Buchan Way (JBW) without open views and “scar” the ground.

RDS Forestry has proposed to plant 127.4 hectares of commercial trees in Broughton Glen, one of the Borders’ two National Scenic Areas.

Member of Upper Tweed Community Council (UTCC) appeared apprehensive over the plans at a meeting on Monday evening.

But the Scottish forestry firm said the JBW was a “focal point” of the design in a bid to allay fears.

At the UTCC meeting, its secretary Stephanie Jackman said: “The access roads will create a huge significant scar. It is an awful effect on the landscape, they will cut into the hill.”

UTCC member Chris Lewin said: “Trees grow and eventually could inhibit the JBW which is a big tourist attraction. It is a very important route for walkers coming from Moffat and eventually leads to Stobo and Peebles.

“There should be 15 metres free of trees on either side of the Way.”

Formal protests can be made against the ‘Broughton Hope’ application on a public register which is open until October 31.

The Way was named after the author, latterly 2nd Baron Tweedsmuir, whose grandparents lived in Broughton.

In response to the concerns, an RDS Forestry spokesperson said: “Out of a potential area of 265 hectares, less than 50 per cent is being proposed for afforestation with significant areas of open ground preserved throughout the glen and along the upper expanses of the hilltops.

“Areas of open ground have been maintained along the path with a mixture of native broadleaf species proposed along the route before expanding into the riparian corridors throughout the glen.

“The landowner is a keen long distance walker, and works hard to maintain and develop variety along the JBW.”

At Monday’s meeting, Ms Jackman added: “Tracks will run to the top of the hill for planting the trees in huge furrows.

“We will be dead by the time it is all chopped down in 30 years time.

“If you look across the Scottish Borders, we have lots of forestry. It’s massive and it looks awful.

“The planting will create lots of litter, with wire from the fences and plastic wraps from the young trees.”

UTCC member Tess Goodwin partly disagreed and said: “Our hills need to be covered in trees for the climate.”

UTCC agreed to comment that the attractiveness of the JBW in the National Scenic Area should not be compromised.

In addition members are concerned there is a deluge of tax/carbon/grant induced planting schemes, without any real overview as to how this will radically change the look of the Border Hills.

The spokesperson from RDS Forestry added: “RDS Forestry has been involved with the afforestation project at Broughton Hope since June 2020. With qualified experts, it has completed assessments to determine the potential impact planting trees could have on the area.

“We have actively engaged with the local community, neighbours and stakeholders on multiple occasions.”