Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said Parliament must wait for the outcome of pending legal processes before considering whether the country’s right-to-roam laws need reforming.
He was speaking following the successful appeal of Stagecoach millionaire Ann Gloag against an order to open land to the public at her £4m Kinfauns Castle estate. Campaigners said the ruling blew a hole in access legislation.
The Ramblers’ Association in Scotland said it was considering going to court to have the ruling overturned.
Perth MSP Roseanna Cunningham quizzed Mr Salmond during First Minister’s Questions on whether the law needed looking at again. He replied that it was possible for the decision to be overturned by judges and that Parliament should not act until then.
Speaking in the Holyrood Parliament, the First Minster said: “At the moment we have a sheriff's opinion.
“There is an indication from the council that it will take the matter to appeal, in which case we will get a determination. Another case in Stirling sheriff court relates to the same issues.
“I suggest that we should at least wait until the case reaches the court of appeal and consider whether the judgement points to serious deficiencies in the structure of the 2003 act. If it does, and case evidence builds up, only then should the Parliament consider whether any legislative changes are required to repair deficiencies that may exist in an act that was passed under the previous administration.”
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gave the public the right to roam in open areas and was modelled on Scandinavian practice, balancing rights with responsibility. Until the Gloag case, it was believed there was an assumption the right would apply to all Scotland’s estates. Euan Snowie, who owns an estate near Stirling, is attempting to have part of his land excluded from the Act’s provisions.