Call to protect rare landscapes
THE SCOTTISH Gamekeepers’ Association (SGA) and Mountaineering Scotland have written a joint letter to the Scottish Government environment minister Roseanna Cunningham MSP urging the development of a land use policy which will protect rare landscapes and ensure access for recreation.
The two organisations say their memberships share a passionate interest in the nation’s landscapes and are concerned that a lack of joined-up thinking in policy making could endanger these environments.
In the letter, they said: ‘ While Scotland’s open landscapes and upland moors are classed as rare in global terms, there is currently no policy position safeguarding them. Some areas are designated as of special ecological or scenic interest but most are unprotected and disregarded.’
They have highlighted forestry strategies that have been put in place by successive Scottish administrations, with 10,000 hectares of new planting planned to take place each year until 2022.
SGA and Mountaineering Scotland question whether the impact of this on the landscape is being sufficiently taken into account.
They want to discuss with Ms Cunningham what they regard as a ‘failure to join up what is required from the land to meet forestry targets and what we might want to keep in terms of internationally rare and valuable landscapes and ecosystems’.
Mike Watson, president of Mountaineering Scotland, said: ‘ We hope that a joint approach to the Scottish Government from our two organisations will demonstrate the wide-ranging concern over this issue, and the need for development of a coherent policy that takes into account the views of all interested parties.’