THE Tyne Valley is bracing itself for another controversial attempt to release lynx into Kielder Forest.

The Lynx UK Trust has announced it will be hosting two online consultation events over its plans, with the first event set to take place today at 7pm.

A similar proposal was rejected by the government back in 2018, after farmers vociferously opposed the plans, with many fearing for their livestock and livelihoods.

This week, Hexham's MP Guy Opperman said he had received fresh correspondence from concerned farmers.

Mr Opperman said: "The release of Lynx into the Kielder Forest was the subject of an application to Defra a few years ago and was comprehensively rejected on multiple grounds by local people, county councillors, myself as MP, as well as key stakeholders like the Forestry Commission, NSA, the NFU, and the Northumberland National Park.

"Ultimately both Natural England and the Environment Secretary rejected the proposal.

"Subsequently, there has been absolutely no request by any of these local groups and representative organisations in the Upper North Tyne and the wider farming community for a release of Lynx - the same issues and lack of support which characterised the previous doomed application remain.

"I would urge the trust to listen to the local community and not to submit a further application."

Supporters of reintroducing lynx believe the cats would bring a range of benefits, including helping to control deer numbers, reducing damage to the forest and improving habitat for smaller animals, as well as providing eco-tourism opportunities.

The Lynx UK Trust has been contacted for comment.

However, in a comment on its social media page, the trust said: "In February, we will be hosting two online local consultation events for our Kielder Forest release location. We will deliver a presentation about our project and answer questions from all of you.

"This is usually something we would do in person in our release sites. However, with the current (lockdown) restrictions that are in place we are having to adapt.

"Join us on the February 4 for the first event."