Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Wild Land Matters

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) have issued a consultation paper to invite comment on the Core Areas of Wild Land map (April 2013). SNH will be considering all responses they receive by 5pm on December 20th, and will ultimately be advising the Scottish Government on the potential use of this map in relation to planning policy.

If you recognise the value of wild land (intrinsic or economic) I would encourage you to add your own voice. Even if it is just a few lines in support of the protection of wild land, don't under-estimate the value of your opinion. And be aware that it's likely there are people being paid to respond, and that the views they are selling may vary wildly from your own.

My response is below.

This hill track is still too young to feature on OS maps. I came across this being pushed up into the heart of one of the 'Core Areas of Wild Land' (above Loch Dionard), while backpacking through in Spring 2012. It's a reminder that these places are constantly under threat.

I strongly support the protection of wild land primarily because I believe that the experience of wild land has an intrinsic value which shouldn't be measured purely in economic terms. I view the protection of wild land as a responsibility of our leaders, both for the sake of we who are around now and all subsequent generations.

It will be a weak and irresponsible government which fails to take action to protect our remaining wild land. Long sighted policy makers should work hard to find a balance between all interests (economic and otherwise) which results in the long term and definite protection of the core areas of wild land which have been defined by SNH.

The documentation of core areas of wild land is a progressive step and I fully support the development of the wild land map to inform planning decisions that may threaten to further erode the quality and extent of wild land in Scotland.

Planning in unprotected areas in the vicinity of national parks should be considered in light of the visual, or other, impact that the developments will have. By the same measure, planning in the immediate vicinity of Core Areas of Wild Land should be considered in the same light.
SNH have acknowledged that the development of the wild land map has been a desk based activity. It is also recognized within the consultation paper that 'detracting features' on or close the boundaries of the defined core areas may have minimal impact or may have a great impact on the experience of wild land within the core areas, and that the positive experience of wild places will generally intensify with further penetration into the areas. The potential for variability of this negative impact is a strong argument for field work being conducted to establish and map areas outwith the core areas, development within which would cause substantive detraction to the experience of the areas themselves.

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Grid North by David Hine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.