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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 January 2008, 02:08 GMT
Eco-homes forest plan put forward
Kilnhill wood
The Forestry Commission wants to see people living among trees
Plans to restore the ancient tradition of living and working in woodland areas are being submitted in the Highlands later this month.

Scotland's largest public landowner, the Forestry Commission, is behind the scheme to build 32 "eco-homes".

It has chosen Kilnhill wood, near Nairn, for the demonstration project.

However, some locals have expressed concern over a new distinct community in their midst. Highland Council will decide whether the project goes ahead.

The idea is to have small groups of low-energy mixed housing, including some affordable and some holiday homes, made, where possible, from local timber.

Intimate connection

Anyone buying a home in the Scots Pine forest would also have to join a trust, signing up to common values, which could include elements such as shared cars and non-car transport.

Phil Whitfield, of the Forestry Commission, said: "We're clearly interested in the idea of people becoming much more intimately connected with trees.

"Living in a forest, as opposed to some landscaping around a housing development, is really where this idea came from."

Plans for Kilnhill wood
The plans are for a community of about 30 homes in the woods

But the Friends of Kilnhill group has concerns over the impact on an area used by locals.

Chairman Stephen Gray said: "Our community, which is using the woodland, and the Nairn people, who are using the woodland, are going to get that taken away from them and replaced by a community of a certain way of thinking."

Other opponents have also claimed the plan could severely disrupt animals and birds in an area home to badgers, roe dear and red squirrels.

However, the Forestry Commission has stressed that its planning application is aimed at creating a sustainable lifestyle and ensuring that the concept of "living in a forest" has minimal impact.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Forestry Commision explain the scheme



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