The Scottish Moorland Group, which is managed by Scottish Land & Estates and is chaired by Lord Hopetoun, had its first meeting in February 2010. Membership is made up of the Chairmen of six regional groups of moorland owners as well as representatives of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, to give a strong local and practical emphasis. The Chairman or CEO of Scottish Land & Estates attends the twice yearly meetings and secretariat is provided by Tim Baynes, Moorland Group Director.
The objective is to provide specialist input on a wide range of issues related to moorland, from grouse management to carbon/peatland restoration. It uses practical knowledge from people on the ground to inform Scottish Land & Estates policy at a national level and passes information back down to a network of regional groups of moorland owners and managers. It also provides the link with wider stakeholder groups such as the Moorland Forum, the Upland Coordination Group and maintains a strong link with the Moorland Association in England.
To view the latest Scottish Moorland Group Newsletter click here.
Work we are currently undertaking;-
Scotland will have its first Peatland's Plan by the end of 2014/early 2015. The Plan will recognise the important contribution restored peatland makes to carbon capture and storage, clean water, flood alleviation, improved biodiversity, and outdoor recreation and tourism.
For the first time Scotland will have a clear set of long-term objectives for peatland restoration. The Plan will provide a framework through which positive relationships between public agencies, landowners and managers, and environmental interest organisations can be built to enable delivery of these objectives.
In recognition of the high potential environmental and social value of peatlands, the Government has made £15million available for restoration projects. £5 million of this is available immediately through Peatland Action, with the remaining £10 million to be delivered through the Scotland Rural Development Programme 2015-2020.
Scottish Land & Estates is a key partner in the development of Scotland's Peatland Plan and we continue to work hard to ensure that the environmental and social goods and services that can be derived from peatland restoration work are properly funded through new public and private-sector markets. One such initiative is the Peatland Code.
Scottish Land & Estates Information Sheet Moorland 07 provides more information on Peatland Restoration.
The lobby for increased recognition of wild land areas in Scotland has been gathering pace in recent years. While Scottish Land & Estates recognises the value many people, including landowners and managers, place on Scotland's remote and rugged landscapes, we resist the wild land terminology, believing it to be misleading, and we resist any further designation.
As things stand, so called wild land areas are not designated but instead are mapped for strategic purposes by Scottish Natural Heritage. See Core Areas of Wild Land Mapping and Wild Land Policy.
Scottish Land & Estates response to SNH's consultation on their mapping is available below under Consultation responses below.
Scottish Land & Estates continues to argue against the introduction of further regulation of private roads and tracks which are a necessary part of managing land across Scotland.
Between 2010 and 2012, the Scottish Government carried out two separate consultations on proposals to remove permitted development rights for private roads and tracks which are for agricultural and forestry purposes. At the end of this process, the Planning Minister announced that he favoured an option put forward by Scottish Land & Estates during the consultations to republish and better promote existing best practice guidance.
The guidance "Constructed tracks in the Scottish Uplands" was republished in June 2013 and Scottish Land & Estates urge all landowners and managers to be aware of this guidance and to adhere to it when carrying out track works whether these are new or the upgrading of existing routes.
Despite the Minister's decision, a persistent lobby for the removal of permitted development rights still exists. Under the umbrella of Scottish Environmental LINK a report was published and delivered to the Minister in late 2013 which highlighted examples of apparent poor practice. The report is entitled "Track Changes".
Scottish Land & Estates has responded to this report with a report of our own which questions the validity of the research done to produce Track Changes, highlights examples of good practice and reiterates the importance of "best practice" as the way forward. Our report can be found below.
Scottish Land & Estates Information Sheet Moorland 02 sets out the legal position in terms of developing private roads and tracks.