Only two out 10 political parties asked for their policies on wild land development responded to requests from the Mountaineering Council
The UK’s political leaders have been blasted for not caring about Scotland’s wild lands.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) said it wrote to the 10 political party leaders at Holyrood and Westminster, in the run up to the general election, asking them to set out where they stand on protecting wild landscapes from development, but only received two responses.
Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson were the only ones to respond but MCofS said only Davidson actually directly answered the five questions she was asked.
MCofS chief officer David Gibson said the contrast between the political responses and the response to a public petition it ran on the same subject, which received 10,000 signatures, was cause for disappointment and concern.
“To say we are disappointed about this clear disconnect between the voting public and our political representatives and leaders is an understatement,” he said.
To say we are disappointed about this clear disconnect between the voting public and our political representatives and leaders is an understatement
“In the run up to the general election we were keen to give our members and supporters a clear insight into how the different parties prioritise the protection of Scotland’s wild land as it has been notably absent from the debates, pamphlets and party broadcasts.”
The organisation which represents Scottish mountain lovers, hillwalkers and climbers, had asked the parties to set out where they stand on protecting wild landscapes from development in the form of industrial-scale wind farms and intrusive hill tracks and asked them to answer five questions based on Respecting Scotland’s Mountains, the MCofS’ recently-published vision.
Wild land – the proportion of the country from which built development cannot be seen – has dropped by 40% in 11 years.
Several high profile proposals currently on the table would diminish this wild land further, including plans for industrial-scale wind farms at the heart of Rannoch Moor and on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park.
These have met with major opposition from a range of sectors including local communities, tourism providers, charities like the John Muir Trust and the government’s own conservation body Scottish Natural Heritage.
Gibson continued: “These landscapes are not a luxury, local people’s jobs depend on them and we want to be sure our political leaders and future UK parliamentary representatives understand and prioritise these matters as essential to Scotland’s economic and social sustainability.”
Gibson added MCofS was still keen to hear from the remaining parties and would be publishing responses right up to 7 May.