Mayfield residents were left angered by what they saw as the destruction of local woods by housebuilders dumping materials.
However, WS Dunsire has defended its actions while working on its Lawfield Steading development, claiming the landowner tore down the oak trees at the adjacent Lime Kiln Woods, with approval granted by the Forestry Commission.
Mayfield Community Council’s environmental convenor Rudi Bregulla (59), a former scientific researcher for the Department Of Agriculture, alerted the Advertiser to the issue north of D’Arcy Road. He said: “I counted about 150 oak trees that have been felled.
“It’s now dangerous to walk through as the trench dug is very deep. It’s a right of way.
“I’m sickened by what has happened – building materials are being dumped there
“It’s ripped the heart out of the woods. I played there as a kid. Now you can’t go there, it’s taken this asset away from the community.”
Mr Bregulla said the woods were also a haven for wildlife.
Landowner David Dalrymple defended the felling, which took place in January and February. He said: “We have been very sensitive to the environmental aspect of the wood.
“We took out a percentage of trees to allow the bigger trees to thrive. This is a standard part of forestry management. The wood had been neglected for far too long.
“We will be planting new trees in the gaps once the landscaping is complete to ensure the future of the woods.
“All the felling was done well before any nesting had started. Everything we do is with conservation and habitat in mind.”
Mr Dalrymple also said the woods have never been a public right of way, adding: “There is a dirt path around the outside, but no official path or right of way and to my knowledge has ever been there.”
Chris Dunsire, owner of WS Dunsire, also defended his company’s dumping.
He said: “Instead of taking waste on tippers and lorries to landfill, we spoke to a local planning representative who suggested that we place it there and in the quarry, and tidy up any damage made to the woods by landscaping it.
“We can’t do anything to damage a forest at all, that’s the beginning and the end of the story.
‘‘We have applied to SEPA and we expect to get permission in the next week or so.
“It’s madness to have lorries move what is effectively just dirt when there is a quarry site and space in the woods.
“It’s right that people want to protect these things, but nothing wrong has been done here.”
A Forestry Commission Scotland spokesman confirmed that a three year licence for thinning works at Lime Kiln Woods was granted last August, and that no community consultation was necessary, adding: “The site has been visited and the tree works carried out are in line with normal forestry practice and standards.”