Hikers urged to report vehicle tracks on Scottish mountains

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Conservation bodies are calling for outdoor enthusiasts to help them assess the damage caused to Scotland’s mountains by vehicle tracks.

The Scottish Environment LINK Hilltracks group wants hillwalkers to photograph or video any instances of upland tracks that are harming the landscape or environment.

This evidence will help the group, which includes many of Scotland’s biggest outdoor and conservation organisations, compile a new report in spring 2018 into whether current legislation is working.

Mel Nicoll, who has recently been appointed to help with the LINK Hilltracks campaign, said: ‘People are often shocked to learn that landowners generally can’t be refused permission before they bulldoze new tracks in Scotland’s hills as long as they are claimed to be for agriculture or forestry, including in some of our wildest, most untouched landscapes and national parks.

‘Since 2014, landowners have had to notify councils before constructing or upgrading these tracks, but they still don’t need to apply for planning permission in most cases.

‘We want hill-goers to send us photos and videos, with the map reference if possible, so we can better gauge the level of damage and assess whether the 2014 law change has helped improve standards. We’ll publish the results in a report next spring.’

LINK is urging anyone who comes across what they think might be a new or expanded track to email hilltracks@scotlink.org or tweet using hashtags #Hilltracks or #NoMotorsUpMountains.