Tuesday 2nd October, 2012
New survey shows huge public support in Scotland for wild land protection
A new survey, conducted jointly by Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Scottish Natural Heritage, has revealed widespread public support for action to protect wild land.
The survey comprised three separate samples:
- A nationally representative survey of over 1000 people across Scotland
- A survey of 656 Scottish-based members of relevant outdoors and conservation organisations, including the John Muir Trust, who responded toan online questionnaire
- A face-to-face survey of 210 residents of Scotland’s two National Parks.
Below, we carry a press release sent out by the John Muir Trust welcoming the findings. We have concentrated on the responses from the first group, which is a more representative sample of public opinion across Scotland.
The full report can be viewed can be downloaded from the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park website
Thursday 2 October 2012 – for immediate release
John Muir Trust calls on MSPs to pay heed to public opinion and protect wild land before it disappears
Survey shows huge public support for wild land protection
A new report commissioned jointly by Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Scottish Natural Heritage reveals widespread public appreciation of wild land in Scotland – and deep concern that it may be under threat.
The report – Public Perception Survey of Wildness in Scotland – measures how much people:
- Use the outdoors
- Perceive the idea of wildness
- Value wild areas.
The survey was conducted online with a nationally representative sample of over 1000 people across Scotland.
Key figures from the survey show
- 81 per cent visit the outdoors at least every few months
- 72 per cent consider it ‘very important’ that Scotland has wild areas
- 60 per cent feel that wild areas in Scotland are under threat
- 77 per cent believe it is ‘very important’ to protect wild areas
- 86 per cent believe further action is needed to preserve wild land in Scotland.
The survey shows people value wild land for its wildlife, its connection with Scottish culture and heritage, its natural beauty, its contribution to the diversity of our landscape, its recreational use and its international renown.
Of those who believe that further action is needed to protect Scotland’s wild land, the most widely supported measures are, in descending order of popularity:
- Specific ‘wild land’ designation.
- Effective planning control for wind turbines
- Effective planning control for buildings;
- Effective planning control for telephone masts and pylons; and
- Reintroductions of species.
Each of these measures was supported by at least a third of those surveyed.
Stuart Brooks, the Chief Executive of the John Muir Trust said: “This survey confirms that the vast majority of us believe that protecting wildness is essential. Scotland has some of the most magnificent wild land in Europe, which attracts visitors from across the globe and people are worried it is being industrialised and lost.
“These figures should provide politicians from all political parties with the confidence to take immediate action and put protection measures in place. It shows that the John Muir Trust and other conservation charities are in tune with public opinion when we say that our wild land is more than just a resource to be exploited for commercial gain, but a precious, priceless asset that needs to be protected for future generations not yet born.”
Helen McDade, Head of Policy for the John Muir Trust said: “The proportion of wild land left in Scotland is shrinking at an alarming rate. In 2002, 41 per of Scotland’s landmass was free of any visual impact from man-made structures; by the end of 2009, that proportion had shrunk to just 28 per cent. In the past three years, if anything the destruction of our wild land has accelerated as industrial-scale wind farms spread across some of our most scenic and ecologically sensitive landscapes.
“The John Muir Trust has already lodged a petition to the Scottish Parliament seeking a new wild land designation, as the most robust means of ensuring the protection of our finest wild land. It is heartening to see that there is widespread public support for this action”.
- Download full report from the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park or from the Cairngorms National Park.