Highlands & Islands

Wild land map published for Scotland

Torridon Image copyright Iain maclean
Image caption The map includes large areas of Wester Ross

Scottish Natural Heritage has published its final version of a map showing where Scotland's wild land is.

The 42 areas include large parts of the Cairngorms and Wester Ross and also places in Argyll, the Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland and south of Scotland.

In total, the areas cover 19.5% of Scotland and the new map replaces one published last year.

The John Muir Trust and Ramblers Scotland said wild land would now better be protected from wind farms.

The map has been produced to support the Scottish government's new National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy.

SNH said the map identified the most extensive areas of the "highest wildness in Scotland" that were considered nationally important.

It was prepared after a seven-week public consultation at the end of last year and detailed analysis of new data.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The Cairngorms feature on the new map
Image copyright Iain Maclean
Image caption The John Muir Trust said the map offered greater protection to wild landscapes from wind farm developments

Ian Jardine, SNH chief executive, said the map would guide development in areas recognised as wild land.

He said: "The planning documents launched today do much more than recognise the importance of the wild land resource.

Image copyright Iain maclean
Image caption Scotland's landscape has been described as a key asset

"They also recognise the extensive role of nature and landscape in the wider sense, and people's enjoyment of it, in achieving sustainable economic growth."

Stuart Brooks, chief executive of the John Muir Trust, said the map and planning documents were recognition of a "nationally important asset" that needed to be safeguarded.

He added: "Scotland's landscapes are spectacular, contributing to our quality of life, our national identity and the visitor economy."

Helen Todd, campaigns and policy manager at Ramblers Scotland, said: "Wild land is a key tourism asset and a magnificent setting for outdoor recreation, but it is also part of our natural heritage, even our fundamental sense of identity as a nation."

She added that while there was greater protection for wild land from wind farm developments, large tracts of other fragile upland areas remained under threat.

The areas of wild land include Torridon in Wester Ross and the Cairngorms, a mountain range that includes parts of the Highlands, Aberdeenshire and Perthshire.

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