Trust calls for more SLA designations

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Conservationists, John Muir Trust’s (JMT) Borders branch, is calling for more local wild land to be designated Special Landscape Areas (SLA), not less, writes Sally Gillespie.

Public consultation on a Scottish Borders Council-commissioned report on eight recommended SLAs for the region ends tomorrow.

The review suggests ditching protection of land between Morebattle and Carter Bar, but the local JMT supporters have protested to SBC that it should be included as an SLA. The campaigners also want hills at the head of the Ettrick Valley and ridge to the Loch of the Lowes and the Yarrow Valley east of the Gordon Arms to gain SLA status.

The currently proposed SLAs cover 110,000 hectares in the Tweedsmuir uplands; Tweed Valley; Tweed, Ettrick and Yarrow confluences; Tweed Lowlands; Teviot valleys; Lammermuir Hills; Berwickshire coast; and Cheviot foothills.

JMT Borders branch’s John Thomas said: “The Borders has a very small area designated for landscape protection compared with the Highlands or England, even though we have some of the finest wild land in the south of Scotland. Our call for four additional areas to be included as SLAs is proportionate and reasonable.”

Officials will collate public views and hope to present a further report to the full council early next year.