Environmental Consultation with Stakeholders

Ellendale ecologist John McTague recently attended a meeting with Cairngorms national park and SSE regarding restoration monitoring of the Beauly to Denny overhead line tower base compounds.

The meeting started off with a short presentation describing the history of the monitoring given by SSE. The committee got to ask questions and raise their concerns to both SSE and Ellendale. Various issues were raised such as fencing of compounds and species of plants growing. John was able to answer questions related to botany and methods of surveying compounds.

The committee members were then taken for a site visit to see some of the compounds which had been less successful in restoring. Some of these compounds had recently been fenced and seeded as a trial to see if this will encourage restoration. Members got to see first-hand the problems restricting restoration such as weather, altitude and grazing by deer and sheep.  A further site visit took members to a better restored compound to allow them to see that under the right conditions the plants start to colonise the compounds.

At the end of the meeting there were some very positive comments from the members of the committee including them being pleased with the quality of monitoring and how honest an open the discussion was. Many people expressed how glad they were that some certain species are starting to come back such as heather. Members could also understand reasons for slow progress such as weather, grazing and altitude. The committee was also satisfied that monitoring was continuing for future years.

Ellendale is on their third year of restoration monitoring for the project. Ecologists working on the project are knowledge botanists. It was important for John to be available during the meeting to discuss any issues the national park members had regarding monitoring. He was able to honestly answer questions and explain the reasons for some compounds not restoring as well as others.

Stewart Parsons