Call to pro­tect rare land­scapes

The Oban Times - - News -

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.’

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