Following evidence given this week by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Environment, that he is “not persuaded that there is a case for a new statutory designation for wild land”, the Public Petitions’ Committee agreed to close the John Muir Trust led petition.
The Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions’ Committee heard evidence this week from Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Environment, that he “not persuaded that there is a case for a new statutory designation for wild land. The Committee was considering a petition led by the John Muir Trust.
SNH provide wild land mapping as a strategic exercise to assist planning authorities in terms of the Scottish Planning Policy statement that “the most sensitive landscapes may have little or no capacity to accept new development and that planning authorities should safeguard the character of wild land areas in development plans”, and to keep Government informed as to the extent of land across Scotland considered to be of wild land character. In this respect SNH have recently published a new wild land map which updates a previous search areas map developed in 2002.
The current mapping does not go as far as designating land as “wild” – something the John Muir Trust wished to see happen. Recent Petitions’ Committee discussions reflected however the difficulties that would exist in terms of designating wild land, particularly when the mapping is based on the experience of wildness people have in a landscape and that this varies for person-to-person. SNH acknowledged in previous Petitions’ Committee discussion that Scotland “has a managed landscape that has evolved over thousands of years, and there is probably no – or very few – areas of anything that one could call natural wilderness”. These points were also made by Scottish Land & Estates in a briefing prepared by us for MSP on the subject.
To see the full Public Petitions’ Committee report go to – http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/29869.aspx
To see SNH’s Wild Land Mapping go to - http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/looking-after-landscapes/landscape-policy-and-guidance/wild-land/mapping/