Walkers are up in arms over what they describe as “a chainsaw massacre” of a wood at Lenzie Moss by East Dunbartonshire Council.
They claim there has been no consultation with local people over the clearance of “a huge number of trees” in the popular nature reserve.
Andy Dickson of Lenzie said: “I was part of the residents action group 27 years ago who fought to retain the Moss from developers and we successfully secured protection for it.
“How can someone have so much power to completely destroy a significant area of natural beauty without consultation with residents?
“Right now the vast majority of trees are being destroyed by a gang of men with chainsaws.”
He told the Herald he is not satisfied with the response from the council that “the purpose of the work is to re-wet the peat bog and protect it from colonisation by birch.”
He said: “I want to know what action the council will take before we are left with a complete barren windswept wilderness no doubt ripe for developers.”
Another walker Michael Haseler added: “There is now almost nowhere for the deer to hide on the moss during the day. One was killed by a dog a few years ago.
“So many people complained to me about the tree-clearing, I went to look.
“It turns out there’s been a ‘Lenzie Moss chainsaw massacre,’ Vandalism of woodland at least 165 years old – although the individual trees are clearly younger - but it seems contrary to Lenzie Moss Management Plan.”
But Grace Irvine, Director of Neighbourhood Services for East Dunbartonshire Council said the work taking place at Lenzie Moss had the support of Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission.
She said: “The SNH is funding this work through its Green Stimulus grant and the Forestry Commission has granted a felling license.
“While there is no legal requirement for the council to consult on how it maintains its land, we have shown good practice by working with the Friends of Lenzie Moss, who I understand have given their support, and have also worked with the Countryside Rangers for a number of years on the management of the site.
She added the council had only received one complaint and work could not be halted as it could result in the council losing out on SNH grant funding.
A spokesperson for conservation group Friends of Lenzie Moss said: “We understand and appreciate local concerns over the recent round of scrub clearing on Lenzie Moss. Whilst the recently cleared areas of scrub have meant the loss of some vegetation, it will have benefits. In the long-term, it will enable the Moss to recover its original wet state.
“This will encourage growth in the population of associated plant species and create a more protected area for wildlife to thrive, including the rare green hairstreak butterfly.
“The scrub clearing is part of the management of the Moss as a local nature reserve. Further information, together with a copy of the plans showing the clearance areas can be seen on our website www.friendsoflenziemoss.org.uk
“We welcome interest in Lenzie Moss and are happy to work with anyone with concerns or comments about the ongoing programme to conserve this valuable community asset.”