Keep it Wild campaign update
Latest news about our work to influence Scotland's Planning Bill to improve protection for wild land - see update at foot of page
The Trust has welcomed the support it has received from members and others in response to its latest call to action, as MSPs continue to consider Scotland’s Planning Bill.
The Scottish Government’s Planning Bill will be vital to the protection of wild land and the natural environment. It is also an opportunity to improve the way in which people are involved in the planning process, specifically to empower them to have more influence.
The meeting of the Parliament’s Local Government & Communities Committee on Wednesday 31 October marks a particularly important stage in the process. MSPs on the Committee are expected to discuss a proposed amendment to the Bill which would give Wild Land Areas a similar status to National Scenic Areas, as well as important amendments that would increase environmental justice. 08/11/18 See update below
Mel Nicoll, Campaigns Co-ordinator for the John Muir Trust said:-
“We know that many supporters have been contacting their MSPs to urge them to support the wild land amendment and others that will help to improve the outlook for wild land. We’re incredibly grateful for such support. It’s vital that our elected representatives understand the importance of changes to the legislation. There is still just time to contact your MSPs to ask them to support the amendment on wild land and also those on community rights of appeal and control over damaging hill tracks.”
Commented Helen McDade, the Trust’s Head of Policy:-
“MSPs who say they are in support of environmental protection need to answer the question – are Scotland’s Wild Land Areas adequately protected at present, or does legislation need to be strengthened? Some of our supporters have had responses from their MSPs suggesting people in rural areas do not want increased wild land protection. Nothing could be further from the truth – four out of five in the Highlands and elsewhere want increased protection. A YouGov poll last year found overwhelming support for wild land protection among all age groups and geographical regions, especially in the Highlands, where most of our wild land is located.”
“Scotland is famed for its wild places, with this highlighted in a Lonely Planet listing of the top ten travel destinations worldwide for 2019. Scotland's wild places are a vital part of our economy but they need to be protected from industrial-scale development, hence the importance of the Wild Land Areas amendment. You can still make a difference – write to your MSPs"
Trust representatives will be at Holyrood on Wednesday 31 October to observe proceedings. Members of the public can also attend the meeting, which starts at 9.15am and finishes at lunchtime. Tickets should be booked via the Scottish Parliament's website in advance NB: It is possible that discussion of these amendments will be rolled over to the following week, depending on how preceding business progresses.
Update 7 Nov:-amendments #59 & #60 (rights of appeal) were voted down but with strong committee support for further consideration at Stage 3 of the Bill. Amendment #322 (wild land areas) will be discussed at the LGCC meeting on 4 Nov, starting 9.15am. Members of the public can observe proceedings by booking tickets as above.