New ‘wild land’ area welcomed

The Scottish Government’s updated planning policy framework which bans wind farms in national parks and map of the country’s new wild land areas have been welcomed.

Only one area locally, from Cappercleuch at St Mary’s Loch to near Corehead Farm, Moffat, is protected by the new wild land status.

Southern Upland Project manager Pip Tabor said: “We approve of this sensible decision to protect the best of Scotland’s landscapes from wind farms and especially welcome the inclusion of the wild land areas.

Wind turbines have their place – but not in areas designated as being uniquely unspoilt.”

The council wanted local areas of wildness to be identified and protected as well and a spokesperson said it would now give “careful consideration” to the new rules and their implications.

The John Muir Trust Borders Group’s John Thomas said: “Wild land and wild places are increasingly being sought after and in visiting these places people spend money and contribute to the local economy, especially if they are provided with the kind of welcoming facilities and services they need.

“It would have been good to see more areas of the Southern Uplands recognised in the government’s wild land map, but if we care for the hills around us better than we have done recently, we will attract more visitors than the relatively small numbers who stop in the Borders at present.”