Wednesday 13th June 2018, 2:33pm
Mountaineering Scotland is urging walkers and climbers to voice their support this autumn for greater protection for wild land.
The Planning (Scotland) Bill is new legislation going through the Scottish Parliament which has the potential to affect how wild land is protected. It has passed through its first stage of scrutiny but still has two more stages to go through, where amendments to it may be lodged by MSPs.
In our survey of members’ opinions last year you told us that the wild qualities of the landscape are important to you. Now is your chance to get in touch with your MSPs and let them know just how important wild land is, because we need them to look at how the planning system works for our environment, especially the network of Wild Land Areas, and for them to support an amendment for wild land protection.
We have also argued that a fair say for all parties involved is important, so the introduction of an equal right of appeal in some cases is long overdue. At the moment developers can appeal against a refusal, but there is no equivalent right of appeal for communities affected by planning decisions.
MSPs sitting on the Local Government and Communities Committee scrutinize proposals within the Bill and take evidence. They have produced their report at the end of Stage 1 calling for the Scottish Government to recognise that the Bill needs a “Purpose of Planning” to create and maintain high quality environments and to review equal rights of appeal for communities. And at a recent parliamentary debate on the Bill, wild land protection and equal rights of appeal were mentioned by MSPs.
You can help influence the Planning Bill by letting your MSPs know how you feel about protection for Wild Land Areas and equal rights of appeal, and asking for their support at Stage 2 of the Bill’s passage through Parliament.