New poll shows Highlands and Islands support for wild land

Survation opinion poll gauges support in Highlands and Islands for Scottish Government proposals for strengthened protection for wild land.

A new Survation opinion poll has gauged the level of support in the Highlands and Islands for Scottish Government proposals for strengthened protection for wild land.

The poll, of over 500 people in eight constituencies across the Highland and Islands, asked people their attitude to the proposal that: “‘The Scottish Parliament is currently discussing a proposal that Scotland’s wild land – land that is rugged and remote with a lack of visible built structures – should be given special protection from development such as large scale wind farms. To what extent do you support or oppose these proposals?”.

Excluding don’t knows, the poll shows:-

• 53% support the propopsal to protect wild land
• 24% oppose the proposal wild land protection,
• 23% neither support nor oppose the proposal.

Broken down further, the poll shows a three to one gap in favour of wild land protection:-

• 34% “strongly support” the proposal for special wild land protection
• 19% “somewhat support” the proposal
• 10% “strongly oppose” the proposal
• 14% “somewhat oppose” the proposal.

John Muir Trust chief executive Stuart Brooks said: “Our key message to the Scottish Government is one of support and reassurance. This is a resounding mandate to stand firm on the proposal to identify and protect 20% of Scotland as ‘core wild land’.

“And that mandate is not just coming from conservationists, or from the outdoor recreation community, or from the tourist industry. It is coming from the people who live and work in the Highlands and Islands, adjacent to wild land areas, and have the most to gain or lose from whatever decisions are taken.

“Scotland in 2014 is at a cross-roads. In September it faces a fundamental decision about its national identity and governance. Before then, it must decide if it is prepared to protect, beyond its people and culture, the most important asset it has responsibility for – the land itself.

“There could be no more fitting gesture as we reflect on John Muir’s relevance today, than that the Scottish Government set in place robust legislation to protect our wildest land.”

Find out more about public support for wild land protection