Ramblers Scotland welcomes the news that Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority has won a landmark legal appeal against the Drumlean Estate, which will ensure walkers and others can exercise responsible access within the estate which sits between Loch Ard and Ben Venue.
Jess Dolan, director of Ramblers Scotland, said “Today’s excellent ruling finally brings to an end the landowner’s long-running and unwise attempts to stop people accessing the beautiful Drumlean Estate.
“Ramblers Scotland commends the national park authority for its commitment to defeating this appeal, which had the potential to set a worrying precedent and undermine our world-class access legislation.
“We will continue to work with authorities across Scotland to challenge any attempts to block access in future – so that everyone can enjoy the health and social benefits of our amazing outdoors.”
The opinion also usefully clarifies a number of legal points which we believe will make it easier for local authorities and our national parks to uphold Scotland’s access legislation in future when faced with landowners obstructing public rights in this way. For example, the judgement sets out that it is an objective assessment of the effect of a landowner’s action that should be considered when deciding whether an obstruction, such as a locked gate, is erected for the purpose or main purpose of deterring access, rather than being based on what a landowner says is intended. Secondly, the opinion makes it clear that it is not relevant if an obstruction to land on which access rights apply pre-dates the passing of the 2003 access legislation, since a landowner’s general duty to facilitate access to this land would override this.
Photo © Angela Mudge (cc-by-sa/2.0)