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New report shows huge support for Scotland’s wild land

A new report has shown that the vast majority of Scotland’s residents value its wilder landscapes. The remoter parts of Scotland such as the Cuillins and the high tops of the Cairngorms, are treasured as an important part of Scottish identity and a valuable economic asset.

The report, looking at public perceptions of Scotland’s wild places, has just been published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Cairngorms National Park Authority. Based on interviews with people across the country, one message came out loud and clear – Scotland’s wild land is important and should be looked after.

Key findings were:
– The vast majority of residents (91%) think it important for Scotland to have wild places. There is very strong support for the conservation of wild land in Scotland.

– Woodlands, forests, mountains, hills, lochs and moorlands were all rated highly as wild areas. Scotland was seen as having a lot of wild areas, especially in the north, west and east Highlands; the Western Isles and the Northern Isles.

– Wild places are valued because they are seen as part of Scotland’s culture, heritage and tourist industry. They are also seen as important for wildlife and nature, the environment, and the local economy.

– Half the people interviewed believe that wild places in Scotland are under threat and around three in five residents thought that action is required to preserve wild areas in Scotland. Overall, the key perceived threats to wild areas were development, urbanisation and humans.

Professor Colin Galbraith, SNH’s director of policy and advice said: “This research has shown us once again that those of us who live in Scotland really value our fantastic scenery and wildlife. Our wild places are there for everyone to experience and enjoy. It is clear that the people of Scotland want those of us who are involved with looking after wild land to take our responsibilities very seriously indeed.

“The interviews revealed that the people of Scotland are aware, as are SNH and the Scottish Government, that Scotland’s wild land and scenery is an important economic asset, worth looking after.”

The research, which involved interviewing over a thousand people across Scotland and 300 within the Cairngorms National Park, was carried out in partnership with the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA).

Matthew Hawkins, landscape advisor, for the CNPA said: “Wild land is an important aspect of the cultural identity of the park and it is clear from this study that the residents of the park value it greatly. It is also a huge draw for visitors from all over the world.

“The CNPA will work to ensure that wild land is enhanced and continues to contribute to the culture and economy of the park and wider region.”

The report, Public Perceptions of Wild Places and Landscapes in Scotland, is available on the SNH website.

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