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ECOLOGIST James H C Fenton
HILL TRACKS IN SCOTLAND I personally think there should be a moratorium on all new hill tracks in Scotland: there comes a time when our upland landscape is just full-up with infrastructure and this time has been reached. Wild land is disappearing at an alarming rate, and new tracks, built for whatever reason, open up access to remote areas – as they do all over the world. Hence I support the sentiments of the Scottish Green Party as shown below, although perhaps more tracks are currently being bulldozed for hydro schemes, windfarms and forestry schemes than sporting estates (all are equally bad!). Media Release, Scottish Green MSPs, 31 October 2018 SNP And Tories Block Bid To Control Bulldozed Hill Tracks SNP and Tories MSPs should “be ashamed”, after blocking a bid by Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman to impose tougher controls on landowners who scar hillsides by bulldozing tracks for deer stalking and grouse shooting. At today’s meeting of Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee, SNP and Tory MSPs voted down Mr Wightman’s amendment to the Planning Bill, which would have required landowners to seek planning permission for tracks on land used for stalking and shooting, and on land in National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Scenic Areas. Andy Wightman, Land Reform spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, said: “The campaign against bulldozed hill tracks has been long-running, and I want to thank the numerous membership groups who helped build huge public support for my amendment, including Ramblers Scotland, RSPB, the National Trust and Mountaineering Scotland. It’s disappointing that SNP and Tory MSPs have bowed to vested interests in blocking this move. They should be ashamed. “The current system whereby landowners notify planners of a bulldozed track rather than seek detailed permission is clearly a sham. Hillsides both Highland and Lowland are visibly scarred, often ruining environmentally sensitive habitats, and usually in the interests of stalking and shooting, which the public have little sympathy for…”
A View from Argyll James Fenton’s perspective on current conservation issues Click here for previous blogs
New tracks in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park in wild land