Tweeddale MP David Mundell says he has been contacted by local businesses concerned that any long-term closure of the popular forest trails could spell further bad news for the local tourism economy after what has already been a tough 20 months of Covid-related restrictions.
Now Mr Mundell is seeking a meeting with Forestry and Land Scotland, which manages the Tweed Valley forests, to be updated on their plans for them and to urge that every effort is made to re-open the forest trails as swiftly as possible.
Mr Mundell said: “Everyone will understand the need to close the forests in the aftermath of Storm Arwen in the interests of public safety, and the need to make a full assessment of the damage caused before beginning clear-up operations.
“However, as those local businesses who have contacted me have pointed out, the Tweed Valley forests are one of the bedrocks of the local economy here in Tweeddale and there is an urgent need to get walking and mountain biking trails safely re-opened as quickly as possible to ensure that tourism opportunities do not slip away.
“From my initial co ntact with Forestry and Land Scotland, I know they are themselves aware of this, but I am seeking a meeting with them in the New Year both to be updated on progress being made and to make the case for every effort to be made to get local walking and biking trails re-opened as a matter of real urgency.”