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Text of letter received November 3rd 1998: Is this the shape of consultation to come??
(Comments added)
Mr. E Igglehart, South West Community Woods, North Glen, Palnackie, Castle Douglas, DG7 1 PN

Ref: AD2
2nd November 1998

Dear Sir


I write to you as a 'stakeholder' in the activities of the Forest Enterprise arm of the Forestry Commission, to explain our planned organisational changes in the Stewartry and Ayrshire. These are designed to improve our focus on the different types of forests and the aspirations of local people in south west Scotland. (Were local people asked? This is the first we have heard of it!)

Until two years ago the Forestry Commission forests of the Solway, Galloway Forest Park and in the southern part of Ayrshire were managed from three Forest District offices.

To enhance our effectiveness in Galloway Forest Park, the Ayrshire forests were joined with those of the Stewartry and have been managed from our office in Castle Douglas since 1996. These arrangements, and our continuing outstation office at Straiton, have been such a success that we now propose further to reorganise our arrangements as follows: (Can you run that by me one more time?...It's working so well, you want to turn it inside-out?)

The Solway forests around Dalbeattie and west towards Kirkudbright will be managed together with Mabie from Ae, Dumfries. (distance between forest and office: status quo: 11km max; proposed: 40km minimum)

The forests around Gatehouse of Fleet, Laurieston, Corsock, New Galloway and Dundeugh will form part of a new Galloway Forest District based at the existing office at Newton Stewart. This includes The Bennan, Fleet and Clatteringshaws forests. (distance between forest and office: status quo: 15-25km max; proposed: 25-50+km )

Carrick forest of south and east Ayrshire, including the woodlands around Loch Doon, will be managed from our existing Straiton office as part of the Galloway Forest District.

Kyle forest, to the north and east of Dalmellington, will be managed from Straiton as part of a new forest district encompassing the Scottish coalfields.

We hope to be able to demonstrate over the coming months that our staff will be able to focus more clearly on the market and social benefits of the distinct forests in the three areas concerned.

The present intention is that the new Galloway Forest District, which will manage the whole of Galloway Forest Park, will start work in April 1999. Dalbeattie Town Wood (to be managed from 41km distance - some 'town wood'!) and the other Solway forests (even further away) will join with Mabie to be managed from Ae from the same date, whereas the local presence in Ayrshire at Straiton will be strengthened. The Castle Douglas Office will finally move to Newton Stewart during September 1999. (i.e. removed from the heart of the most forested area to its periphery)

These changes will not involve much upheaval for most of our staff (One gets used to it pretty quickly, working for a distant colonial power!)as they will not need to move home.(this time) Although there will not be an office in Castle Douglas we will still be 'on the ground' and, of course, contactable at Newton Stewart.

We will operate on the basis of 'business as usual' up to and after the changes in April next year. You should not notice much difference in your dealings with us, except that the teams concerned will be able to concentrate more on 'your kind' of forests. (For the life of me, I cannot see how this follows, or what is meant!)

If you have any comments or suggestions I would be pleased to hear from you at any time at the above address.

Yours faithfully
_______ _____
Forest District Manager

If this is the shape of increased community involvement to come,
God help us!

"I heartily accept the motto,
"That government is best which governs least;"
and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe--

"That government is best which governs not at all"

and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.
--Henry David Thoreau

"But it is not by the consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected. Were not this great country already divided into states, that division must be made, that each might do for itself what concerns itself directly, and what it can so much better do than a distant authority. Every state again is divided into counties, each to take care of what lies within it's local bounds; each county again into townships or wards, to manage minuter details; and every ward into farms, to be governed each by it's individual proprietor.

Were we directed from Washington when to sow, & when to reap, we should soon want bread.

It is by this partition of cares, descending in gradation from general to particular,
that the mass of human affairs may be best managed for the good and prosperity of all."
-- Thomas Jefferson


Please note: The above observations are my own, influenced by experience, reading, listening, conversation and correspondence with others. My experience is limited in all areas, and some generalisations may seem sweeping, or even presumptuous. No offence to corporate entity, human or otherwise is intended, but should any be taken, it is from myself and no other. - E.I.

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