MSPs keep up pressure on wild land petition

John Muir Trust praises Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee decision to continue the debate over wild land designation.

The John Muir Trust praised the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee’s decision on Tuesday 16 April to continue the debate over wild land designation, which included inviting Scotland’s Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse to appear before the committee.

The Trust also welcomed statements by Scottish Natural Heritage officials restating the national importance of wild land and commended the rigorous questioning of the officials by MSPs from across the political spectrum.

John Muir Trust Head of Policy, Helen McDade, said: “The meeting was a small but important step forward for those of us who have been campaigning for many years for wild land protection.

“By inviting the Environment Minister to give evidence, the Petitions Committee is sending a message to the Scottish Government that this is an important petition that cannot just be quietly buried.

“We were pleased at the robust line of questioning from MSPs as they tried to get to the bottom of why progress has been so slow on wild land mapping. We would also welcome the clear statement from SNH to the Committee underlining the fact that wild land is of national importance.”

Stuart Brooks, John Muir Trust Chief Executive, said: “It is positive that in this Year of Natural Scotland, there seems to be a growing recognition among MSPs across all political parties that Scotland’s wild land needs protecting.

“With further tracts of wild land still under threat from a number of major industrial-scale wind developments, we need to move quickly.

“We look forward to the appearance before the Petitions Committee of Paul Wheelhouse, which we hope will help clarify the government’s view on how wild land can be best protected.”