WORK to remove windblown and unstable trees torn down by recent winter storms will soon begin in Aberdeenshire. 

Sitka Spruce and Douglas Fir - some of which are 35 m tall and weigh several tonnes - will be among the species cleared at Kirkhill Forest, just off the A96 at Tyrebagger beside Dyce, in the coming weeks. 

One of the area's "worst storm-hit forests", it remains closed to visitors several months on but is due to reopen when the work is completed.

READ MORE: Storm Arwen devastated double the amount of hectares in Scotland first thought

With Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) teams working alongside the likes of Transport Scotland and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), it's hoped the felling will prevent more trees blowing over and remove the risk of damaging the road and powerline running alongside it.

Much of the work – which will be carried out by FLS contractors and SSENs own team – can be done safely back from the road during May and June. However, traffic management will be needed to safely deal with the unstable, standing trees along the road.

This will involve an east bound lane closure and a temporary speed limit of 30mph from June 6 to 17.  Traffic management will be in place at off-peak times (09:30 to 16:00) from Monday to Fridays.

Dan Cadle, Forest and Land Scotland's (FLS) harvesting, forest management and stewardship manager, said: “We’re dealing with some very big trees here; a mix of Sitka Spruce and Douglas Fir some of which are 35 m tall and weighing several tonnes.

“With the work being so close to the road and the powerline, it’s requiring a coordinated effort from several agencies to make sure that this passes off smoothly.

“This is a great example of public and private sector departments FLS, Bear, SSEN and Transport Scotland) working together to deliver a complex piece of work for public safety, continuity of energy supply and at the same time minimising disruption to the travelling public.

“We appreciate that there will be some inconvenience and apologise for that in advance.”

Once the work is completed Kirkhill will be re-opened for visitors to start to enjoy it again. However, many other forests in the area are still closed for safety reasons as a result of storm damage.

Visitors should always check FLS’ destination pages before leaving home for the latest updates on the current status of woodlands in the area.

Graham Stirling, lead harvesting manager at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), said: “This past winter, Storms Arwen, Malik and Corrie resulted in multiple points of damage to our network infrastructure in the north east, with significant disruption experienced in the area due to fallen trees and wind-borne debris striking overhead power lines.

“While our immediate priority was to repair damage to our network and restore power to our customers as quickly as possible, we’re now working alongside Forestry and Land Scotland, Transport Scotland and BEAR to clear wind-blown and unstable trees from the vicinity of our power lines.

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“Our 35-tonne live line harvester allows work to be carried out without the need to temporarily turn power supplies off in the area, minimising disruption to our customers and enabling work to be carried out safely in one of Aberdeenshire’s worst storm-hit forests.”