A coalition of nine leading Scottish environmental organisations is calling for stronger laws to protect the country’s most iconic landscapes from damaging vehicle tracks.
Currently, no planning permission is required if tracks are claimed to be for agricultural purposes – but we’ve a unique chance to change the law as part of a new Planning Bill that's being discussed in the Scottish Parliament right now.
Ask your MSPs to support stronger control of vehicle tracks in iconic landscapes
Scottish Environment LINK Hilltracks Group’s new Changing Tracks report has found many ‘agricultural’ tracks are almost certainly built mainly to support field sports, such as deer stalking and grouse shooting – which aren’t classed as agriculture.
Changing Tracks shows the current Prior Notification process for such tracks is confusing, undemocratic and failing to prevent ongoing environmental damage – including within National Parks, Wild Land Areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
There is a golden opportunity to tackle this damaging activity, as part of the passing of a new Planning Bill at Holyrood. Contact your MSP today.
Helen Todd, co-convenor of LINK Hilltracks group and Ramblers Scotland’s campaigns and policy manager, said: “For too long, landowners have been able to expand tracks further and further into wild landscapes with limited oversight from the public or authorities.
“We’re urgently calling on all lovers of Scotland’s outdoors to ask their MSPs to help change the law to protect our countryside from these ugly, damaging tracks.”
Beryl Leatherland, co-convener of the group and also convener of the Scottish Wild Land Group added: “The Changing Tracks report finds that the current process is confusing, undemocratic and failing to prevent ongoing environmental damage – including within National Parks, Wild Land Areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.”
You can read Green MSP Andy Wightman’s amendment on the issue here (it's number 165) and read the Changing Tracks report here.
LINK Hilltracks group includes Ramblers Scotland, RSPB Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Wild Land Group, Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group, Cairngorms Campaign, North East Mountain Trust and Scottish Campaign for National Parks.
The campaign is also supported by John Muir Trust and Mountaineering Scotland, who are not LINK members.