New wild land map published

The new Scottish map is a first of its kind in the UK.
The new Scottish map is a first of its kind in the UK.

A NEW map showing the main areas of wild land in Scotland has been published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in a first for the UK which may help protect land areas from development planning such as windfarm construction.

The map shows 43 areas with the strongest wild land character, totalling approximately 20% of the country’s land mass. It incorporates the previously identified search areas for wild land, which amounted to 13% of Scotland, plus some additional areas beyond those.

Andrew Bachell, SNH director of operations, said: “Wild land is an incredibly valuable asset for Scotland. It makes an important contribution to our tourism industry and images of wild places also help support Scotland’s world wide reputation as a beautiful and impressive country.

“It makes a crucial contribution to our quality of life and we know that most Scots consider wild places to be important to them. Wild land also supports biodiversity and is often associated with our most impressive wildlife.”

The map is a result of SNH’s ongoing work to advise Scottish Government and others on the extent and location of the wild land resource in Scotland.

It takes a systematic and robust approach to analysing how people experience wildness in the landscape; and will help government and local authorities to take account of wild land in development planning and eventually replace the map of search areas for wild land produced in 2002.

Mr Bachell added: “Like all natural assets this resource must be managed sensitively if it is to be sustained. Our new map will enable planners and developers to take account of wild land, particularly in planning future windfarm and any other large scale developments.

“We wish to share this map as widely as possible with stakeholders, particularly in the context of the Scottish Government’s consultation on its third National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy.”