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Our hills should be managed for nature and for the common good, not the bloodthirsty pursuits of a privileged few. Andy Wightman MSP

SNP and Tories MSPs should “be ashamed”, after blocking a bid by Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman to impose tougher controls on landowners who scar hillsides by bulldozing tracks for deer stalking and grouse shooting.

At today’s meeting of Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee, SNP and Tory MSPs voted down Mr Wightman’s amendment to the Planning Bill, which would have required landowners to seek planning permission for tracks on land used for stalking and shooting, and on land in National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Scenic Areas.

Andy Wightman, Land Reform spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, said:

“The campaign against bulldozed hill tracks has been long-running, and I want to thank the numerous membership groups who helped build huge public support for my amendment, including Ramblers Scotland, RSPB, the National Trust and Mountaineering Scotland. It’s disappointing that SNP and Tory MSPs have bowed to vested interests in blocking this move. They should be ashamed.

“The current system whereby landowners notify planners of a bulldozed track rather than seek detailed permission is clearly a sham. Hillsides both Highland and Lowland are visibly scarred, often ruining environmentally sensitive habitats, and usually in the interests of stalking and shooting, which the public have little sympathy for.

“I have no doubt that the huge numbers of Scots who enjoy the outdoors and value our hills as a natural landscape will judge the SNP and Tories harshly at the next opportunity. Our hills should be managed for nature and for the common good, not the bloodthirsty pursuits of a privileged few.”