The hilltrack in Glen Clova

The hilltrack in Glen Clova

A Ramblers Scotland boss has described as ‘frustrating’ a landowner’s appeal against enforcement action over a hilltrack in Glen Clova.

Helen Todd, the walkers’ charity policy manager, said the vehicle track in the Cairngorms national park, is a scar on the landscape.

A Scottish Government official will undertake a site visit on 20 December to view the track, which the Ramblers said is used for field sports.

Campaigners said planning laws need strengthening to deal with the number of vehicle tracks being built on Scotland’s hills and mountains.

Landowners currently simply need to tell authorities before building tracks which are said to support ‘agriculture or forestry’ – and full planning permission is generally not required.

But the walkers’ charity said it believes these tracks are often created to support shooting activities.

Ms Todd, who is also co-convener of the Link Hilltracks group, said: “It is deeply frustrating that a landowner is challenging the order forcing them to restore this unauthorised track, which is scarring the landscape in historic, protected Glen Clova.

“Ministers have committed to review the unfair, inadequate planning process for such tracks next year, and this case shines a spotlight on why change is urgently needed throughout the whole of Scotland.”

In October campaigners welcomed the national park authority’s decision to order the removal of the track.

Ramblers Scotland said the landowner – registered to Pitlivie Farm in Carnoustie – was given until October 2020 to restore the upper part of the track, which is 1.5km long and has created spoil mounds up to 10m wide. They were also told to seek retrospective permission by 23 December 2019 for changes to a separate section of track lower down the hillside.

Beryl Leatherland, of Scottish Wild Land Group and co-convener of the Link Hilltracks group said: “We feel confident the landowner’s appeal will fail, but it will result in yet more costs and delays while this retrospective process takes place.

“This case yet again highlights the urgent need for stronger controls over vehicle tracks in our hills, to support local democracy, boost construction standards and save our uplands from further damage.”

The Scottish Government has announced that hilltracks will be one of the top priorities in its forthcoming review of permitted development rights, which govern which types of developments can bypass the full planning permission process.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Ramblers welcome Cairngorms authority’s order to remove Glen Clova hilltrack
  2. Ramblers: turbines destroying Scotland’s wildernesses
  3. Ramblers urge Scottish Government to clarify walkers’ right to use railway crossings
  4. Mountaineers warn delay on hilltracks rules could prompt rush to build more
  5. Dartmoor rescue team issues urgent appeal for new control vehicle