A natural legacy worth protecting
Wild land and its distinctive landscapes, ecology, geology and archaeology draw thousands of visitors each year, making a vital contribution to local businesses and communities. Wild land fulfils a vital ecological function too, with vast peatlands storing carbon and home to rare wildlife. Wild land is also a place where nature can be enhanced and regenerated, building new opportunities for remote communities in growing markets such as wildlife tourism.
In recent years developers have been targeting these special places as possible sites for industrial-scale wind farms. The most recent of these to be given permission is Creag Riabhach, near Altnaharra in the far north of Scotland. This will see 22-turbines up to 125m tall, five within Wild Land Area 37. This is the first time permission has been given for a development within the boundaries of an official "Wild Land Area." Scottish Government decisions on a number of other major wind farms that would damage wild land are also due. These include Culachy (near Fort Augustus), Caplich (near Ben More Assynt), and Limekiln and Drum Hollistan (Caithness).
Your voice counts - take action!
A recent YouGov poll has shown strong support for wild land protection. If you are concerned about the future for Scotland's wild land please join our campaign. Here are two things you can do to influence politicians:-
Action 1:- Ask your MSPs to improve protection for Scotland’s Wild Land Areas
Given the pressure wild land is under from wind farm development, we think the Scottish Government should give Wild Land Areas the same protection from wind farms as National Parks and National Scenic areas. We don't dispute the need for renewable energy projects and support the Government’s aim of reducing carbon emissions by the most effective methods, but we don't think building industrial-scale wind farms in Wild Land Areas is the answer. Wild land has been damaged by other things in the past, for example commercial forestry planting in the 1980s. Now there are costly schemes under way to reverse these impacts. How much better not to damage wild land in the first place?
Take action - please help to #keepitwild by writing to your MSPs/the Minister - download our template letter here
Action 2:- Ask your MSPs to support the campaign for Equal Rights of Appeal
Building Equal Rights of Appeal into the Scottish planning system would give the many people who care for the future of Scotland’s wild land a fairer chance to challenge decisions that threaten wild land. The planning regime in Scotland is currently weighted in favour of developers with huge financial resources at their disposal and, for most planning applications, developers have a right of appeal if their application is refused – but if the development is approved, objectors have no such right. This leaves individuals, communities and charities with no choice other than to take costly legal action in court.
Action 2:- We are working with campaigning group Planning Democracy to get an Equal Right of Appeal built into the Scottish planning system. If you support the call for ERA send a postcard to your MSP request postcards here