The John Muir Trust hailed the new Wild Land Areas 2014 map of Scotland published by Scottish Natural Heritage and supported by the Scottish Government as a historic breakthrough in its campaign to have Scotland’s wild land recognised and protected. The map covers 19% of Scotland’s land area.
Stuart Brooks, Chief Executive, said: “This recognition of Scotland’s wild land as a nationally important asset that needs to be safeguarded marks a historic breakthrough. Scotland’s landscapes are spectacular, contributing to our quality of life, our national identity and the visitor economy.
“The John Muir Trust has fought long and hard over many years with the support of many thousands of people to achieve official recognition for wild land and we welcome this commitment.’’
“Although this falls short of our request for the absolute protection of wild land from large scale developments, we applaud the Scottish Government for taking this bold step in the face of a sustained campaign to undermine wild land protection by powerful vested interests’.
“The adoption of this policy and map should result in more consistent decision making by planners and government, and it should discourage energy companies from targeting the 42 areas that make up the wild land map.”
The Trust noted that there is a net reduction in the area covered by the map as compared with the original draft, with several significant areas removed (and some areas added). The areas removed include a chunk of the Monadhliath Mountains, following the decision by the Scottish Government to approve the giant Stronelairg wind farm.
Brooks added: “Before commenting on the specific changes to the map, we will look more closely at the detailed explanations from Scottish Natural Heritage about the reasons for these removals. We will continue to defend those areas that we consider to be wild land from large scale development.”