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Published: 26 May 2021

Standards 16-23: Facilities, heritage and sustainability

Maintaining infrastructure and reducing visual impacts with an eye on heritage and sustainability.

People working on wild land should be encouraged to work sustainably and be mindful of legal and other requirements regarding heritage infrastructure. Infrastructure, such as paths and fences, should be well maintained but kept to a minimum. Buildings should be energy efficient, and where possible should make use of small scale renewable energy.

All wild land will have evidence of previous use by man. Preservation of the cultural heritage is important. Removing redundant modern structures will enhance the wild land character of an area.

16. Staff training

Staff should be knowledgeable and trained in all aspects of wild land management having regard for all aspects of wild land management as well as sustainable principles. Adequate Health & Safety training is essential.

17. Infrastructure & heritage maintenance

All legal burdens, such as boundary fences, water supplies and so on, should be fully maintained in good working order. All cultural heritage sites, such as old shielings, historic bridges, and suchlike, should be maintained in accordance with statutory guidance. Roads, tracks, footpaths, fences and buildings should be kept to a minimum in wild land.

Temporary tracks may be required for the purposes of deer extraction or to take materials to remote sites. Paths are often necessary for access to, and enjoyment of, wild land. Where paths are fit for purpose they can be narrow and unobtrusive but they can also become severely eroded and highly visible scars on the land. Regular maintenance is essential.

18. Reduce, reuse, recycle

Sustainability principles should be applied across the board. This should include reducing waste, reducing water consumption, reusing materials such as fence posts and wire, and recycling as much as possible. Litter should be separated into recyclable and non-recyclable materials.

19. Minimise carbon footprint

Climate change caused by the build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is one of the biggest threats facing all ecosystems. The carbon footprint of all activities on the land should be minimised.

Electricity use in buildings should be reduced as much as possible. Buildings should be insulated as efficiently as possible. Fuel consumption of vehicles should be minimised. Staff, visitors and volunteers should be encouraged to car-share or use public transport where possible.

20. Explore local renewable energy

Small local renewable energy projects should be considered for buildings. This might include solar panels for water heating, and woodfuel or woodchip boilers for central heating for individual or groups of local buildings. Landscape and ecological impacts of any developments should be considered fully before initiating any projects.

21. Remove redundant structures

To improve wild landscapes all redundant structures should be removed (with the exception of cultural heritage). This includes disused buildings or sheds and fences. Where possible, existing roads or tracks should be removed, reduced or narrowed to minimise their impact.

22. Sensitive new build techniques

Where a new building is required, it should be designed sensitively and built sustainably with minimal impact on the surrounding landscape. Ideally, any new builds should use sustainable materials such as timber, local stone and turf.

Buildings should be planned to have the lowest carbon footprint possible. Making use of renewable electricity and heating – through solar panels, wood burning stoves, and sensitively sited, micro-scale wind turbines – should be the norm.

23. Sensitive path techniques

There should be a presumption against new paths in wild land, but if these are required then the focus should be on sustainable construction using locally sourced materials wherever possible.

The visual impact of the path should be a primary consideration and paths should be built using local materials. Designs should be as simple as possible and maintain natural variations in terms of width and materials. Apply sensitive techniques to any repaired or new path.

Useful links

HSE guidance
Historic Environment Scotland Advice and Support
Historic England Advice and Support
Recycle now
Zero waste Scotland
Energy Saving Trust
UK Green Building Council
UK Government community energy guidance
Scottish Government community energy guidance
Fix the Fells
SNH Upland Path Manual
Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland