Trust welcomes reports of progress on wild land protection

Cautious welcome for Times report on potential identification of 28% of Scotland as wild land.

The John Muir Trust today gave a cautious welcome to a report in the Times newspaper which suggests that Scottish Natural Heritage is set to identify around 28 per cent of Scotland’s countryside as wild land, and that the First Minister may be ready to support ‘turbine-free areas’ to protect this land from development.

The John Muir Trust has waged a long campaign to safeguard Scotland’s wildest landscapes from intrusive structures, including industrial-scale wind developments. A petition calling for wild land protection lodged two years ago by the John Muir Trust was recently debated by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee. The committee has now invited key officials from Scottish National Heritage to give evidence at its next meeting on April 16.

Stuart Brooks, Chief Executive of the John Muir Trust said, “We need to find out more detail, but if today’s report is accurate this would be a significant step in the right direction. Scotland’s wild land is famed across the world, and is an important part of our rich cultural heritage and national identity, yet it has been disappearing at an alarming rate in recent years.

“A lot of important groundwork has already been carried out by SNH and the John Muir Trust in mapping Scotland’s wild land. This mapping work can be the basis for identifying and protecting our best remaining wild land. We would encourage the Scottish Government to make available the mapping work carried out by SNH, and to begin a consultation process to help clarify which policy solutions would best protect wild land.

“The John Muir Trust believes that a special wild land designation would be the most effective long-term safeguard for wild land, but we recognise the importance of finding a good, robust solution in the short-term. We’re ready to help and would be happy to take part in discussions with the Scottish Government and other agencies on the best way forward.”