Consultation on estate’s future

A six-week online consultation has been launched by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) on its final draft management plans for Mar Lodge Estate, spanning 2012 to 2016.

Individuals and organisations with an interest in how the estate is managed across its objectives for conservation, access and enjoyment, and field sports, have until Thursday, August 16, to register their comments. The draft plan, together with a number of documents and policies which underpin the plan, can be found as a download on the NTS website at http://www.nts.org.uk/property/mar-lodge-estate.

Conflicting views relating to the Trust’s management of the 72,000 acre estate - especially relating to natural pinewood regeneration and deer management - prompted the organisation to commission an independent, evidence-based review last year. Recommendations within the review’s concluding report were broadly accepted by the Trust and have been integrated within the wider-ranging context of the new draft management plan.

In the months since publication of the independent review last November, the Trust has held a number of consultation meetings with groups representing the Braemar community, neighbouring landowners and environmental interests. It has also pressed ahead with implementing some of the recommendations contained in the review document, including commissioning a new strategic deer fence at the Linn of Dee, first phase removal of redundant enclosure fencing, innovative mob planting trials of birch saplings, an extended muirburn programme, and greater activity in communication and community engagement.

Estate property manager David Frew said there was still work to be undertaken.

“We’re moving forward at Mar Lodge Estate against the backdrop of a 200-year vision for promoting conservation, public access and field sports,” he said. “Given our commitment to achieving long-term balance across our management objectives, the consultative draft will inevitably stimulate further debate.”