Monday, 13 February 2017

Highland Titles - Scottish Woodland Alliance - 10 Year Tree Planting Pledge Farce

We intended to publish this for #HighlandTitlesDay on 10th Feb 2017, we didn't quite make it, but think a few days late isn't going to change the facts or relevance.

Back in 2007 on their website at (now defunct), the Scottish Woodland Alliance made the following pledge.

"A major funding pledge from Lochaber Highland Estates (CI) Ltd will enable up to 1,000 hectares of new woodland to be created in Scotland over the next ten years.."

A December 2012 archived copy of the page can be seen HERE.

October 2007 version HERE, so we can date the pledge to this date or before.

So who are The Scottish Woodland Alliance? At last update on 22/06/2016 they were. Peter Bevis, his wife Helen McGregor, their daughter Laura Bevis, and son in law Douglas Wilson. The usual Highland Titles suspects,  this is a distinctly family affair.

This can be verified HERE

And we can date control of SWA in 2007 to Peter Bevis, via a Scotsman article HERE

"He (Peter Bevis) shrugs off any suggestion that he avoids British tax - "the business is registered in the Channel Islands because that's where the family's from" - and defends his organisation, the Scottish Woodland Alliance, whose website is linked to Lochaber Highland Estates and encourages its readers to invest in trees at Laird's Wood. He intends to register the alliance as a charity, he explains, to help fund even more tree-planting in Scotland."

This is a very considerable tree planting undertaking (1000 hectares is just short of 2500 acres). Given the same planting density as their own (we believe unfinished) Jubilee Wood project of 500 trees per acre, (lets say around 1,000 trees/hectare), that comes to around 1,000,000 trees. Creating "1000 hectares of new woodland" would have meant planting one million trees in the ten years since 2007.

Eight years on (in 2015), Highland Titles were giving figures of 8,000 trees planted. For example on a Facebook post dated 17th Sept 2015, it was claimed, "Highland Titles have planted around 8000 trees at the Reserve in Duror". That's around than a rather miserly 1000 trees per year. At that rate it's going to take them somewhere around 30 years just to plant the previously mentioned Jubilee Wood.

We think it unlikely that in the final 2 years they planted the outstanding 992,000.

Note the word ‘pledge’. This isn’t a dream or an aspiration. Customers are likely to understand that from the funds they contributed to the novel conservation enterprise that is Highland Titles (then known as Lochaber Highland Estates), money would be be set aside to plant up to 1,000,000 trees over the following ten years.

A common definition of pledge is a solemn promise.

We think this a quite startling example of the Highland Titles mob not coming close to fulfilling one of their promises. But then, this is a Highland Titles pledge.

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