Would you drive up a mountain? Would you create a track like those in our photo gallery on a mountain? Lots of people do – The evidence can be seen in our photo gallery. Not only are these tracks a blot on the landscape but if poorly constructed they can lead to serious erosion and environmental damage.
The Scottish Environment LINK Hilltracks Campaign has worked hard to stop this. In a positive move, since December 2014 all landowners have had to give prior notification to local authorities of their intention to construct new hill tracks or carry out improvements of existing tracks where they are required for agricultural and forestry purposes. They still don’t need to apply for full planning permission so tracks can’t be refused permission or require any public consultation, but we hope that the need for prior notification will improve construction standards.
Tracks associated with windfarms and hydro developments have full planning permission but we are also keeping a watching brief on the impact of these over the longer term. We have particular concerns about the enforcement of restoration requirements related to some of these schemes.
Want to help?
We need your help in assessing whether the prior notification process is effective in improving the standard of tracks and their impact on the environment and landscape. We also need to know if there are still new tracks appearing which have not gone through any planning process at all.
There are two ways you can help the campaign:-
- Take photos! If you come across a track like this when out and about in the Scottish uplands please take photos! Photographic evidence will really help us to illustrate the extent of the problem in our work to raise awareness of the issue and hopefully persuade politicians to change the legislation and bring all hilltrack construction into the full planning system. More information about what we are looking for in photos and how to upload them here hilltrack notification
- We monitor local authority planning websites to see what proposals are coming forward and we comment where we have particular concerns.. We have a team of volunteer “trackers” who help us to monitor local authority planning websites and are always interested in hearing from people who would like to help in this way. You can do this from the comfort of your home, from anywhere in the country for around just 10 to 15 minutes per week! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
In addition to donations from the organisations participating in this project, funding has been generously provided by the Scottish Environment LINK Discretionary Project Fund, The British Mountaineering Council and the Scottish Mountaineering Trust.