Scottish Natural Heritage publishes ‘Yes, Minister’ options plan for uplands use

Scottish Natural Heritage – the landscape quango – has published a new report to Scottish Ministers decide whether to develop a strategic vision for our uplands.

Acting on a commitment in their Land Use Strategy for 2016-2021, the Scottish Government asked SNH to scope the potential to develop a strategic vision for the uplands.

The report itself does not make any specific recommendations about which uses should be allowed, permitted, and/or encouraged – or not – in our uplands.

Instead it simply says – in effect – that ‘all stakeholders should be consulted and it’d be best if we could all agree a majority and/or consensus’ strategy”.

The SNH work has explored the multiple benefits the uplands provide – including how they help to reduce the impacts of climate change – and has actively involved a wide range of people and organisations with an interest in uplands.

The report summarises SNH’s work and the views expressed. The report includes a number of broad recommendations that could inform the development of a strategic vision if Ministers decide to proceed.

Key benefits our uplands provide include the production of food and timber; water supply and food regulation; carbon capture and storage; renewable energy and biodiversity.

They also offer recreation opportunities, such as for hillwalking, mountain biking, deer stalking, grouse shooting and wildlife watching and generate tourism income for the Scottish economy.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of SNH, commented: “Any vision should be developed collaboratively to help achieve wide ownership across all sectors. It should be concise, focused and inspiring, with the greatest possible consensus and support of stakeholders.

“The process should create a ‘neutral’ forum that encourages fair, balanced and open discussion, and agreement where this can be achieved.”

Many local authorities, environment bodies and land-owner/ business bodies responded to the consultation. Their statements – and the full report, Scoping a strategic vision for the uplands, are available at:

http://www.snh.gov.uk/land-and-sea/managing-the-land/upland-and-moorland/scoping-upland-vision/

1 Aug 2017

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