“Descriptions” of the existing 42 Wild Land Areas have been published today by Scottish Natural Heritage.
These include maps and photographs.
The 42 Wild Land Areas extend from Ronas Hill in the Shetland isles to Merrick in Dumfries-shire. and cover 1.5 million hectares. The largest is the Cairngorms (157,000 hectares), the smallest is in Shetland.
The definition and designation of Wild Lands was subject to a strongly-fought lobbying campaign by the Scottish Renewables trade association, and Big Wind developers on one side, and environmental groups on the other during the last session of the Scottish Parliament.
Wild Land Areas across Scotland were subsequently identified in 2014 to support Scottish Planning Policy. They are the most extensive areas where high wildness can be found and include remote mountains and moorland, isolated sections of coast and uninhabited islands.
The Scot-Govt’s third National Planning Framework recognises wild land as ‘a nationally-important asset’ requiring strong protection. It states “We also want to continue our strong protection for our wildest landscapes – wild land is a nationally important asset.”
Scottish Planning Policy sets out how this should be achieved, by identifying and safeguarding the character of Wild Land Areas in Development Plans and in Spatial Frameworks for onshore wind farms, and considering the effect of development on these areas.