Across rural Scotland, large swathes of our natural scenic landscape are being damaged by landowners who bulldoze and scar the land to create tracks for deer stalking and grouse shooting. They are currently able to do this without planning permission. There is currently a Planning Bill going through the Scottish Parliament, and Green MSP Andy Wightman is trying to amend it to close this loophole. However, so far the SNP and Tories have blocked our efforts. Please take action now and email your MSPs asking them to support Andy’s amendment. We must show that the Scottish public don’t want our hillsides scarred just to please the niche interests of a few individuals.

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For a long time, key organisations, such as Ramblers Scotland, RSPB, the National Trust for Scotland and Mountaineering Scotland, have campaigned against the destruction of hillsides by bulldozers and heavy machinery for the purposes of field sports.

The introduction of the Planning (Scotland) Bill has been the perfect means to bring these developments into the planning system. Regrettably, however, SNP and Conservative MSPs chose to bow to vested interests rather than support our amendment.

Yet, at the final stage of the Bill, all MSPs in The Scottish Parliament will debate the final text of this piece of legislation before it becomes law. This means that you can play a part in ensuring that Scotland’s landscape is no longer vulnerable to the wanton destruction that has already left its mark on some of our country’s most beautiful locations.

At present, landowners can notify planners that they will create a track using bulldozers but they do not need to seek planning permission. For the interests of a few who wish to stalk or shoot, vast swathes of land is left visibly scarred and often results in destroying environmentally sensitive habitats. The public do not have sympathy with this and it is galling that such field sports are allowed to act in this way without being accountable to planning authorities.

Many Scots who enjoy the outdoors and value our hills as a natural landscape have been utterly appalled by the way in which SNP and Tories have reluctantly chosen to support the bloodthirsty pursuits of a privileged few. Our hills should be managed for nature and for the common good, not the bloodthirsty pursuits of a privileged few.

Please take action now and help protect Scotland’s uplands. By contacting your local MSPs, your support will be added to the growing collective voice that says that Scotland’s landowners will no longer be allowed to bulldoze tracks freely just to facilitate hunting.

 

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