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Welcome to Doodlecat, where we enjoy the pleasures of life (with a slight bias towards the outdoors). This page is regularly updated with news and views plus information about any additions or changes to the various parts of the site. It acts as Doodlecat’s Blog too, so the odd rant considered opinion may pop up from time to time.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hill Track Campaign - update

new track with men at work road sign
Back in March of last year I mentioned the Hill Tracks Campaign. The unneccessary creation of new vehicle access is just one of many threats to the fragile remnants of wild land in the UK. The wind industry has already trashed many lesser, but nonetheless fine, hills and views. Indeed there are so many threats to our open access and wild land that we hardly know where to turn next. It's a bit like the man spinning plates on poles - eventually in concentrating on just one, another wobbles and falls crashing to the ground.

We have a lot of plates spinning right now. Turbines, forest sales, electric fences over wild land etc. etc. so it is good to know that earlier campaigns are not abandoned, and resistance to the bulldozing of the Highlands continues, albeit against the inertia of a largely urban based and indifferent Scottish Parliament. This particular plate is still there, and in need of a bit of a wiggle, so if you live in Scotland, why not give your MSP a prod?

I received this email today giving an update on progress (or rather lack of it).

Dear Petitioners,

We realise it has been sometime since we last updated you with the latest developments in the Hill Tracks campaign that we have been working on in the Scottish Parliament over the last year, culminating in the Members’ debate that took place on 9th June.  We would like to thank all of you who took the time to write to your MSPs in advance of that debate and we were pleased with the turnout at the debate.

Those of you who followed the debate will be aware that the Stewart Stevenson, the Minister responsible at the time, undertook to update the Scottish Parliament on the Scottish Government’s plans in relation to Hill Tracks ‘immediately after the summer recess’.  It is a matter of considerable regret to inform you that this has not happened despite repeated attempts to ascertain the Government’s position on the issue.

Following the summer recess we wrote to the Minister asking for this clarification and were disappointed to learn that the timetable had slipped once again.  This reply informed us that the Government now intends to publish a ‘consultation paper’ in ‘early 2011’ to decide whether the ideas contained within the 2007 Heriot-Watt report are still appropriate to pursue.  I know you will share our disappointment that with the Scottish Election due in May this delay will push the issue beyond the term of the current parliament.

We have subsequently written once again to the Minister responsible seeking reassurance that there will be no further delay to this process and we have enclosed a copy of the letter for your interest.

We will inform you when we next receive a reply from the Government and in the meantime will continue to explore every opportunity to see some movement on this important issue.

Once again may we thank you for your continued interest and support.

Best Wishes

Peter Peacock MSP     Sarah Boyack MSP 

When campaigning for our interests we are up against an indifferent urban rump in the legislature. This is so with the campaign against the spread of wind farms, and may yet be the case with the forest sale campaign, although with even the Daily Telegraph saying that it is a nonsense it seems likely that these proposals will be diluted to the point where they are dropped in all but name.

And that is a good example for us. When politicians' supporters in the mainstream media turn against them, they are very likely to turn also.And to a large extent now, the mainstream media feed on the opinions expressed on blogs and social networking sites. Google is the friend of the lazy hack, and the more his searches produce results leading to our point of view, the more likely we are to see our case presented in the wider media. So keep those plates spinning. Keep in touch with your elected representatives (at whatever level) and if you are a blogger - keep on blogging.

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Blogger Alan Sloman said...

I am typing this on a Library machine as I was ihnterested to see just how out-of-date my Anquet maps are, and I am amazed to find how many new hill tracks there are now compared to my 2007 edition of Anquet!

There are new tracks spreading like spider's webs all over the shop!

I signed the original petition like you Phil and received that email as well but it is only by looking at fairly recent old maps and their new counterparts that the fulll horror becomes apparent of how many tracks are new.

Keep up the good work.

February 2, 2011 at 1:28 PM  

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