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Wild land protection

Wednesday 23rd February 2022, 12:22pm

by Davie Black, Access & Conservation Officer

Plans for the protection of Scotlandís wild land are out for public consultation, so read on for your opportunity to make your views known.

The Scottish Governmentís draft National Planning Framework 4 will set policy for the next ten years or so on how Wild Land Areas will be protected from damaging effects of intrusive civil engineering projects, like windfarms, hydro schemes, powerlines and hill tracks.

Wild land is recognised as a national asset in the current National Planning Framework document, NPF3.  In the new, draft, NPF4, there is a policy section that recognises the importance of wild land, and we are keen to maintain recognition of the current value and protection given to this valuable, and diminishing, feature of Scotlandís landscapes.

Wild Land Areas are home to a great many mountaineering destinations: 269 Munros are in Wild Land Areas out of a total of 282 Munros, not counting the further 227 subsidiary tops. And 177 out of 222 Corbetts can be found in Wild Land Areas.

For those of you interested in finding out more on Wild Land Areas, a map and their descriptions can be found here: www.nature.scot/doc/wild-land-areas-map-and-descriptions-2014

But the people who live in Wild Land Areas need consideration too.  The look of wild land has always depended on the rural economy, and the viability of upland land uses and businesses.  On the one hand wild land is a national asset worthy of protection for future generations, and on the other hand it is a resource that provides support for economically fragile rural communities.

So it is vital that planning officials get right the policies that guide development activities, to accommodate both values without damaging either.

We are urging the Scottish Government and the parliamentarians who scrutinise public policy to retain the protective measures currently serving the wild qualities of landscapes.

What you can do

You can lend your support to keeping Wild Land Areas for future generations to enjoy by responding to the NPF4 consultation.  This is a large and complex document, but Policy 32 is the one concerning protection of natural places, and is worth reading.  All you have to do is answer Question 50, relating to wild land protection.

Please say in your own words that we need recognition that areas of wild land are very sensitive to any form of intrusive human activity and have little or no capacity to accept new major development. Local Development Plans should identify and safeguard the character of areas of wild land.  Any development proposals will be required to demonstrate that any significant effects on the qualities of these areas can be substantially overcome by siting, design or other mitigation.

Responses can be sent by 31st March 2022 through www.transformingplanning.scot/national-planning-framework/get-involved/consultation-process/

The shortcut avoiding the full consultation response pages is to email your response to Question 50 to the Scottish Government at scotplan@gov.scot.

They ask that if sending your comments by email, you should also submit a completed Respondent Information Form which lets them know how to treat your response - www.transformingplanning.scot/media/2717/draft-npf4-respondent-information-form.docx

Please do let us know what you say in response to this as we can follow up later in the consultation process.