John Muir Trust – Wild Land Campaign

Campaign launched for Statutory Protection for Wild Land

Marsco, Isle of SkyeThe John Muir Trust is calling for improved statutory wild land protection of the UK’s last remaining unspoilt landscapes. The campaign was launched in the week following the Scottish Government’s approval of the Beauly-Denny Line though some of Scotland’s finest scenery.

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Never before has there been a greater demonstration of the need for statutory protection of the UK’s last remaining areas of wild land,” commented the John Muir Trust’s Chairman, John Hutchison. “Last week’s Beauly-Denny decision has shown how even the Cairngorms National Park has proved an inadequate defence from the creeping industrialisation of our natural environment.”

Areas of wild land that are largely unaffected by human intervention are rapidly being depleted throughout the UK and yet this finite resource is essential to wildlife, the economy and our wellbeing. Reasons for protecting our wild land in an increasingly urbanised and material world include:

  • Wild land is often home to our richest wildlife and most sensitive habitats
  • Tourism related businesses benefit from visitors attracted to ‘unspoilt’ scenery
  • Wild land is an essential source of clean water and provides natural floodplains that reduce flooding in built up areas
  • A society able to enjoy the health benefits of experiencing wild land is physically and mentally healthier
  • Our sense of place is intimately connected to the UK’s rugged landscapes
Wild land in Scotland

In recent years wild land has come under unprecedented pressures from inappropriate developments, including roads, power lines and poorly sited wind farms. According to Scottish Natural Heritage the amount of land unaffected by visual intrusion from built development was cut in Scotland by 25% between 2002 and 2008.

On-shore wind developments and associated transmission lines are now a major threat to wild land in the UK. “We are convinced that the Government can both meet its ambitious carbon reduction targets and protect our most treasured landscapes though a combination of energy conservation measures and carefully sited renewable developments,” said John Hutchison. “New geographic modelling can identify the core areas of wild land in Britain that need to be safeguarded for future generations.

 

The Map shows Scotland’s remaining wild land on a scale from the wildest (deep blue) areas to the most built up environments (red). This map, by Steve Carver of the University of Leeds is reproduced with the permission of the Ordnance Survey on behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

The campaign aims to build a broad alliance of individuals, organisations and businesses committed to safeguarding our precious wild land resource.

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