Scottish Land & Estates has this week responded to the Scottish Government consultation on the General Permitted Development Amendment Order 2012. The proposed amendments include removing permitted development rights for agricultural and forestry routes. Calls have been made by recreational interest groups for better regulation of upland hill routes, particularly in remote areas that they see as being of ‘wild land’ character. The current proposal however is for the creation, development and, in some instances, maintenance of all private roads and ways across Scotland to require a full planning application.
Scottish Land & Estates believe this is a disproportionate response. In particular:-
- No evidence exists to support the need for this level of scrutiny for the vast majority of private tracks.
- Forestry tracks in particular are already subject to scrutiny through EIA processes which should be more than adequate to ensure their appropriate development
- There are a range of alternative options that the Scottish Government should consider.
- If this is not achieved large sectors of the rural economy will be unnecessarily burdened.
Scottish Land & Estates have additionally pointed out that many and varied activities are facilitated by private roads and ways facilitate from stock, game and forestry management to mountain rescue, wildfire control, wildlife monitoring and public outdoor recreation. In short, they are the arteries that keep the life blood of rural Scotland alive and they enhance responsible public access to the countryside.