Trust welcomes significant moves towards stronger wild land protection

Publication of core wild land map points to stronger wild land protection.

Following the Scottish Government's release of two key draft planning consultation documents, and the release of Scottish Natural Heritage's map of core areas of wild land in Scotland, the Trust welcomed the significant moves towards stronger wild land protection and the Scottish Government’s recognition that wild land must be an important factor to be taken into account in planning procedures.

Chief Executive Stuart Brooks said: “Along with other conservation and outdoors organisations, the John Muir Trust has waged a long campaign to protect Scotland’s wild and scenic landscapes from industrial-scale development. We are pleased that the Scottish Government recognises the importance of wild land as an important part of our cultural heritage and international profile.

"This is the start of a consultation, which as the Planning Minister has pointed out, will influence development policy in Scotland for the next 30 years. A lot of damage has been done to Scotland’s wild landscapes and ecology over the past 30 years, and if that rate of attrition were allowed to carry on for another the next 30 years there would be little or nothing left of Scotland’s wild land.

“As the Scottish Planning Policy consultation document spells out, many of our upland, mountain and coastal areas are sensitive to human activity and have little or no capacity to accept new development.

“The John Muir Trust has long believed that a special designation would be the most effective long-term safeguard for our wild land, bringing clarity and rigour to the planning process. In the meantime, however, we will participate in this consultation to help ensure that positive words in support of wild land can be translated into robust action to keep them wild.

“We also note that there are currently a number of large-scale developments in the planning pipeline that are located in the heartland of some of our core areas of wild land, as indicated on the mapping published today by Scottish Natural Heritage. In the light of the content of today’s consultation documents, we would hope that these will now be reconsidered by the relevant planning authorities.”