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Study to assess hill damage

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale

HILL goers are being asked to help assess the damage caused to Scotland’s iconic hills and mountains by controversial vehicle tracks.

The Scottish Environment LINK Hilltracks group is calling for photographs or videos of any instances of upland tracks that are harming the landscape or environment.

And they are urging anyone who comes across what they think might be a new or expanded track to email [email protected] or tweet them.
All evidence gathered will help the group – which includes many of Scotland’s biggest outdoor and conservation organisations – compile a new report in spring 2018 into whether current legislation is working.
There have been concerns for decades about such tracks and campaign spokeswoman Mel Nicoll said: “People are often shocked to learn that landowners generally can’t be refused permission before they bulldoze new tracks in Scotland’s hills as long as they are claimed to be for agriculture or forestry.
“Since 2014, landowners have had to notify councils before constructing or upgrading these tracks, but they still don’t need to apply for planning permission in most cases.”
The campaign has the backing of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS), Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group, Cairngorms Campaign, National Trust for Scotland, North East Mountain Trust, Ramblers Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Campaign for National Parks and Scottish Wild Land Group.
For more information, go to scotlink.org/work-areas/link-hill-tracks-campaign

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