David Ross
Highland Correspondent

CONSERVATIONISTS have welcomed what they describe as the ringing public
endorsement of plans to protect Scotland’s wild land, with only energy
corporations, property developers and landowners opposed.

The John Muir Trust has analysed 150 submissions to the consultation
document launched in May, which contains the government’s proposal to
strengthen protection for 43 core areas of wild land as mapped by Scottish
Natural Heritage.

The JMT said the exercise showed two to one support for wild land protection.

It said those supporting wild land protection include individuals,
environmental and other charities, outdoors organisations, businesses,
local authorities, community councils, landowners and professional bodies.

Fewer than 50 responses oppose the proposals and the JMT said almost all
were from those with a financial interest in making profit from wild land.

More than two thirds of responses in opposition were submitted by companies
based outside Scotland.

John Hutchison, JMT chair, said: “The negative responses from energy
corporations and property developers confirm that industrialisation of our
wild land is driven, not by concern over climate change, but by profit.”

One of those objecting is RWE nPower – Germany’s biggest energy corporation
involved in coal, gas and nuclear. RWE said: “We note there is a lack of
consistency with respect to relative wildness ranking including in the core
areas.

“We encourage the Scottish Government to revise the presentation of wild
land within the current draft of Scottish Planning Policy.”


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