Helen McDade Head of Policy Protecting Wild Land in the UK– Challenges and Solutions
John Muir born April 21st 1838 in Dunbar, Scotland
El Capitan, President Roosevelt Yosemite & John Muir
John Muir TrustUK organisation which aims to• protect and enhance wild land• ensure that wild places are valued by all sectors of society4. By owning and managing wild land5. By raising awareness of its value6. Through advocacy for better protection
Land ownership and partnership• Owns 9 key areas of wild land• Works with crofting and community interests• Works in partnership with communities in other key areas, where invited• Welcomes exploration and discovery
Sandwood Bay Sutherland
Bla Bheinn, Cuillins, Skye
• The battle for conservation will go on endlessly. It is part of the universal battle between right and wrong.• John Muir (1838-1914)• As inscribed on the Scottish Parliament wall
Third strand of Trust work- is on strategic policy issuesWild Land campaign running• For better protection of wild land (Petitions to Scottish Parliament & UK)• Better statutory protection• National energy strategy
Definition of wild land?
JOHN MUIR TRUST DEFINITIONThe Trust regards “large areas of high scenicand wildlife value with minimal evidence ofmodern human development” as core WildLand.It is a holistic concept which embraces both• ecological quality and diversity•and the landscape aspects important topeople for its aesthetics and spirituality
Where is the wild land? John Muir Trust map •Top 10% in UK (blue) •How well protected is it? (Wild Land Research Institute mapping for Trust)
Scottish Natural Heritage Much more detailed resolution than the Trust’s map – using cell size of around 50metre square. Mostly similar areas highlighted – Main significant exception is islands. Where will this leave Western Isles and Shetland?
Wild land faces major threatsSNH Natural HeritageIndicator“Visual influence of built developmentand land use change”•the extent of Scotland unaffected byany form of visual influence declinedfrom 41% in 2002 to 28% in 2009”
Map gives tool for policydecisions E.g. Beauly Denny pylon route –
Transmission impacts -• Beauly Denny was start of major UK expansion• Power needs to get to south England• Many other lines now on cards – from Wales; Cumbria; East Anglia• Has the cost-benefit analysis been done?• How is natural environment valued?
View from Callanish standing stonesto Muaitheabhal, Western Isles
Looking towards site ofMuaitheabhal wind development
Approved Muaitheabhal development (photomontage)Public Local Inquiry into previous design, in NationalScenic Area, found landscape and visual impactsunacceptableDeveloper redesigned outside the NSA; no furtherpublic involvement Is this the right development, in the right place?
Shetland VikingDevelopment103 turbines145metre high
Shetland “Viking” proposed development 103*145metre high turbines – Consented without public inquiryDeveloper’s photomontage of a smallpart of site
How to protect?John Muir Trust discussion paper -OPTIONS2.A new wild land designation (petition inScottish Parliament)3.New, and enlarged National Parks4.Improved National Scenic Areas (NSAs)5.A light touch approach through planningguidance and legislation
IUCN – ideal forum?• Unintended consequences of devolution – different remits, causing lack of joined-up thinking and ability to “pass the buck”• Needs a UK body to take a role in reviewing the problems of different administration remits – environment; planning; economic drivers• And bring pressure for joined-up policy
‘Do something for wildnessand make the mountainsglad.’ John Muir