Mapping Scotlands wildness – SNH consultation

Mapping Scotlands wildness and wild land Consultation on Core Areas of Wild Land 2013 MapThe Scottish Government recently consulted on the Main Issues Report for the National Planning Framework 3 and draft Scottish Planning Policy.  These proposed a policy approach that refers to Scottish Natural Heritages Core Areas of Wild Land 2013 map.  In light of comments received, we have been asked to provide further advice to Ministers on this map.Scottish Natural Heritage is seeking views on three questions set out in this consultation paper  .  Please reply using the pro forma  on this page Mapping Scotlands wildness – Scottish Natural Heritage.

corporate assault on wild land map

Scottish Govt must not bow down to big business pressure over wild land map

As the Scottish Government announced a public consultation over the map of Scotland’s core wild land wild land published earlier this year by Scottish Natural Heritage, the John Muir Trust warned the Scottish Government to resist external pressure to downsize the map.

Stuart Brooks, John Muir Trust chief executive said: “Responses to the Scottish Planning Policy consultation document reveal a concerted assault on the core wild land map by energy corporations and property developers.

“They clearly see Scotland’s wild land as a potential goldmine worth billions to their global shareholders.

“We expect that the Scottish Government will now come under ferocious pressure to either scrap the map, or to remove large tracts of wild land from the protection zone.

“These businesses have no expertise or interest in Scotland’s landscape or ecology. Their only expertise and interest is in making profit.

“Scottish Natural Heritage has spent many years identifying Scotland’s wild land, and establishing and refining clear geographical boundaries. This work must not be allowed to be undermined by the power of money.

“The message we will be sending to the Scottish Government is that our wild land is not a commodity to be bartered over, but a precious asset to be cherished, protected and restored for the benefit of our people, our wildlife and the wider world.”

The John Muir Trust has public support on its side. A YouGov poll of over 1,000 people across Scotland this summer found that over 75 per cent support strengthened protection for wild land with only six per cent opposed, while the recently published Scottish Planning Policy consultation responses showed a two to one majority in favour of strengthened protection for wild land..

Of the fewer than 50 submissions opposing wild land, almost all were from businesses with a financial interest in exploiting Scotland’s wild land –  two thirds of them from outside Scotland, and one third multinational corporations from outside the UK.

Of the more than 110 or so submissions supporting the wild land map, the vast majority came from Scotland, and included environmentalists, charities, businesses, local authorities, community groups, professional bodies and individuals.

via News from the John Muir Trust.

Public ‘backs wild land turbine ban’

The majority of Scots want the country’s wild land to be protected from windfarms, according to a survey by the John Muir Trust.

The poll of about 1,100 people said 75% were in favour of protecting 20% of Scotland’s landscape – with 6% opposed.

The trust said this gave ministers a clear mandate to introduce protection.

The study followed a decision by Holyrood’s Public Petition’s Committee not to pursue the trust’s petition for statutory designation for wild land.

Stuart Brooks, chief executive of the conservation group, said the survey came amid a Scottish government consultation on planning policy, and with an official wild land map on the table.

He said: “We have argued all along that the government’s targets for reducing greenhouse gases can be achieved without sacrificing our unique wild landscapes.

“This poll sends a resounding message to the Scottish government that the people of Scotland want them to stand firm and deliver their promise to safeguard our wild and rugged land from industrial-style development.”

In the survey, 40% said they would “strongly support”, while a further 35% “tend to support” the proposal that:”the 20 per cent of Scotland’s landscape identified as ‘core wild land’ – rugged, remote and free from modern visible human structures – should be given be special protection from inappropriate development including wind farms.”

Only 2% said they would “strongly oppose” protection, while 4% said they “tend to oppose” it. Of the remainder, 14% said they “neither support nor oppose” the proposals, with 5% undecided.

The study suggested that support for the proposal was almost evenly spread across Scotland’s political parties and social classes.

There was also decisive backing for wild land protection across all age groups, the report claimed.

John Hutchison, chair of the John Muir Trust, said: “Regardless of gender, class, age or party political allegiance, Scotland is united in wanting to keep our wild landscapes free from large scale wind farms, giant pylons, super quarries and other inappropriate commercial developments.

“Scotland’s rugged mountain landscapes are part of our national heritage and identity – and the message from our people is that our wild land is not for sale.

“We are sure that MSPs from across the spectrum will take note of the fact that the breadth and the depth of support for wild land far outstrips support for any political party.”
download wild land map

via BBC News – Public ‘backs wild land turbine ban’.

Lairds, Land and Sustainability

From some folks at my past university research department, The Centre For Mountain Studies, a new publication that will inevitably spark some debate in relation to the current land reform discourse. I look forward to getting a copy at some point.

Lairds, Land and Sustainability – Scottish Perspectives on Upland Management. Edited By: Jayne Glass, Martin Price, Charles Warren and Alister Scott. Publication Date: Jul 2013

A wide-ranging study of how different landownership models deliver sustainability in Scotland’s upland areas

Scotland is at the heart of modern, sustainable upland management. Large estates cover vast areas of the uplands, with a long, complex and emotive history of ownership and use.

In recent decades, the Scottish uplands have increasingly been the arena for passionate debates over large-scale land management issues. Crucially, what kinds of ownership and management will best deliver sustainable futures for upland environments and communities?

Although the globally unique dominance of private ownership remains a distinctive characteristic of Scotland’s uplands, increasing numbers of estates are now owned by environmental NGOs and local communities, especially since the Land Reform (Scotland) Act of 2003.  A decade after the passage of this landmark Act, this book synthesises research carried out on a diverse range of upland estates by the Centre for Mountain Studies at Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands. The findings from privately-owned estates as well as those owned by communities, charities and conservation groups will prove enlightening and relevant to upland managers, policy makers, and researchers across Britain and Europe.

With the Scottish Government promoting a vision of environmental sustainability, and with the new diversity of ownerships and management now appearing, this timely and topical book investigates the implications of these different types of land ownership for sustainable upland management.

via Lairds, Land and Sustainability – Edinburgh University Press.

Mapping Scotland’s wildness – Scottish Natural Heritage

Updated information on mapping core wild land areas.

On 30th April 2013 the Scottish Government published its Main Issues Report on the National Planning Framework 3 and revised Scottish Planning Policy.  Question 2 of the NPF MIR is inviting views on the use of the our mapping work to identify areas which need to be protected.  In addition SPP question 17 is seeking views on the proposed approach to spatial frameworks, including the principle of affording significant protection to core wild land (as included in our map) from wind farm development unless any adverse effects can be substantially mitigated.  So that Scottish Government can best reflect on the merits of the policy approach and consider the next steps, they are also happy to receive comments on the map itself who will forward any such comments to ourselves for our information.  Full details of the consultation and how to submit your comments can be found on the Scottish Government’s website  .

The new map of areas of wild land character can be viewed here: Mapping Scotland’s wildness – Scottish Natural Heritage.

Preparing a new map of wild land

Scottish Natural Heritage identified ‘Search Areas for Wild Land’ in 2002. These were considered to be where the most significant and valued areas of wild land would be found.  But the map was a preliminary one, not including small areas or precisely defining boundaries, prepared for debate and further refinement. Our recent work has applied GIS techniques in a more objective and robust approach.

The new map of wild land is the result of analysis undertaken in three phases:

Phase I mapped the relative wildness for all of Scotland, using four physical attributes: perceived naturalness, rugged or challenging terrain, remoteness from public roads, and visible lack of built development and other modern artefacts.

Phase II analysed the data to identify the largest and most wild areas (producing a long list of possible areas of wild land).

Phase III used informed judgement to select areas of wild land character, and draw provisional boundaries.

via Mapping Scotland’s wildness – Scottish Natural Heritage.