Saturday, June 08, 2013

Re-posting: Scottish Environment LINK

LINK Hill Tracks Campaign

Nine of Scotland’s leading environmental organisations are appealing for help in preventing the spread of hill tracks.

Hill tracks are some of the most visible and damaging developments in rural Scotland. They are often crudely bulldozed through highly sensitive environments, doing irreparable harm to landscapes, soils and biodiversity, and contributing to the rapid loss of land unaffected by visual intrusion (which fell by nearly one-third between 2002 and 2009).

Incredibly, these tracks can often be constructed without any planning consent having to be sought, so their design and construction are not subject to any controls or public oversight – even within parts of our National Parks. While this exemption is only meant to apply to tracks constructed for agriculture or forestry, many are instead used for commercial stalking or shooting.

For many years our organisations have been campaigning to bring the construction of hill tracks into the planning system. Recently, the Scottish Government accepted that there is ‘compelling evidence’ of the damage caused by unregulated hill tracks, but still decided not to amend the legislation. We now have a short window of opportunity to persuade the government to change its mind and impose proper controls on all hill tracks.

Please help us to collect evidence of these tracks so we can make our case more strongly. While you are out walking or cycling, please take photographs of any tracks you find and send them to us using the form below.

(Photos which were taken since January 2011 are acceptable, but historic photos should only be submitted if you are sure that the track still exists. Note that tracks which are related to renewable energy or telecommunications developments will have been through the planning system already so these tracks are not a priority, but we can still use them to highlight bad construction practice! Please let us know if you think the track you have photographed is for one of these developments.)

Many thanks for your help!

The campaign is also supported by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland.

For more information and to submit your photos please CLICK HERE

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