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More controls on Scottish hilltracks

Hill tracks

Scottish planning authorities will get more control to protect the countryside from hilltracks under new rules.

Through the introduction of a prior notification and approval process, planning authorities will be able to consider how proposed tracks will impact on the environment, and intervene to ensure that design, siting and appearance are acceptable.

The changes will be introduced later this year, and will be an extension of existing prior notifications under Class 18 agriculture and Class 22 forestry, which currently apply to tracks in natural scenic areas.

Derek Mackay, Minister for Local Government and Planningsaid hilltracks could damage the environment without proper controls.

“Some hilltracks can undercut the hillside and lead to side banks collapsing and hilltracks can cause damage to wild animal habitat,” he said. “In contrast, well-constructed tracks can minimise negative impacts on the environment, and in the moorlands can often prevent damage to ground nesting birds and their eggs.

“These new controls will ask planning authorities to weigh up proposals and consider all aspects of where the hilltracks will be built, while at the same time allowing work that does not have an adverse impact to proceed with minimal delay or costs.”