Work on a Scottish hilltrack

Work on a Scottish hilltrack

Scotland’s mountaineering body has condemned the Holyrood Government’s ‘feeble’ decision to continue to allow tracks to be bulldozed across the nation’s hills.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland said many of the hilltracks are not for the claimed agricultural purpose but are built simply to allow shooting parties access to the uplands.

The council campaigned hard to force a change in law that would mean such tracks would have needed planning permission.

The MCofS said the decision following public consultation by Scottish Government planning minister Derek Mackay to continue the free-for-all on hilltracks will do nothing to prevent the construction of what it calls huge, unsightly and damaging hill tracks through previously unspoiled mountain landscapes.

MCofS chief officer David Gibson said: “We’re just days away from the 2013 Year of Natural Scotland and the Scottish Government has once again proved feeble in the protection of our countryside.

David Gibson: 'Derek Mackay has let Scotland down'

David Gibson: 'Derek Mackay has let Scotland down'

“We have a crazy situation where some tracks need permission and others don’t.

“This is easily abused by landowners who claim a track is agricultural when its only purpose is to get 4×4s to places which most people could walk to. Even worse, the tracks are often badly built, ugly and do real damage to plant and wildlife.

“Derek Mackay could have solved the problem easily and fairly by saying that all tracks need planning permission.

“But he has let Scotland down in exactly the same way that his government has over its failure to stop windfarms being built in unsuitable places.”

The MCofS said forestry and agricultural tracks are permitted developments meaning that unlike most other tracks they do not need planning permission.

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