Once again the Bevis family have been caught red-handed:
Their “Diamond Jubilee Wood” was a large publicity stunt which according to them was initiated by the Scottish Woodland Trust (see link to their original statement here).
“We were contacted a month or so back by the “Jubilee Woods Project”. http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/jubilee-woods/Pages/home.aspx
They were aware of our conservation work in the area and wondered if we would be interested in joining their cause! (…) they wished to see the proposed site to ensure that it was suitable for the planning that was proposed. This is a huge project for us, but an excellent way for us to use some of the money generously given by the public. (…)
We are of course also thrilled that a national project headed by Princess Anne has heard of little ol’ us and approached us! What an accolade!”
Looks good does it not? What an honour, having been thus singled out by the Woodland Trust . The checking of the site appearing to be a mere formality.
What really happened was that Highland Titles contact the Woodland Trust – not the other way round – and then the Woodland Trust disapproved their proposed site and finally had to issue a statement to refute the allegation made by Higland Titles:
“Your e-mail (below) has been passed to me for my attention.
We are aware of Highland Titles and their web-site regarding their Diamond Jubilee Wood. I can confirm they are not one of our corporate sponsors.
I did visit the site in October 2011 following an enquiry by the owner about the suitability of the site as a Diamond Jubilee Wood as part of the Woodland Trust’s UK Jubilee Woods project.
We did not approve the site as a Diamond Jubilee wood candidate on the grounds of area (the possible planting areas identified as suitable for native tree species was less than our required 60 acres) and the limited people engagement opportunities during the establishment stage on the site. Following us turning this Diamond Jubilee Woodland proposal down we have had no further correspondence with the owners or their local agent.
For clarification, we are not endorsing this site – this is a project entirely separate from our own Woodland Trust Jubilee Woods project.
Andrew Campbell is the Senior Advice and Partnership Manager of the Woodlands Trust.
Read the full story here.
However, according to Highland Titles’s standard modus operandi a quick revision of the website ensued, now stating that “We are pleased to have the support of The Scottish Woodland Alliance and have been most appreciative of the advice given to us by the Woodland Trust** on the suitability of our proposed project.”
As we all know by now, the Scottish Woodland Alliance is owned by Peter Bevis, so that means absolutely nothing, and the two asterisks point to a rather important disclaimer: “** Highland Titles acknowledges the valuable support given by the Woodland Trust during their visit to Keil Hill to inspect the site with us in 2011. The Woodland Trust confirmed that the land was entirely suitable for planting, but that as only 50 acres of the proposed new 60 acre wood would be newly planted (the other 10 acres being existing larch woodland and birch) we would not qualify to be included in their Diamond Woods scheme.”
It belongs to the story Andrew Campbell also denies having ever indicated that the land is suitable for planting, either in part or as a whole.
Update: Highland titles also officially announced their alleged collaboration with the Woodland Trust in their autumn/winter 2011 newsletter under the heading “By Royal Appointment” (you can read the full page at the bottom of this post).
“Highland Titles is proud to announce a new partnership with the Jubilee Wood project for the Woodland Trust”
has now been altered to
“Highland Titles is proud to announce a new project; creating a Diamond Jubilee Wood with advice from the Woodland Trust.”
Whereas this is the most recent version: