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Back to Scottish Outdoor Access Code HOMEPAGE

SLF appoints new access officer with no training or experience in farming/agriculture


Filed 04 October 03

The Scottish Landowners Federation (SLF) announced to the public in a recent issue of its journal, Landowning in Scotland, that they had appointed a new access officer with partial funding from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Assurances were given that the new access officer would operate independently from SNH. On inquiry assurances were also given that the appointment was made independent of SNH.

Yet the Chairman of the SLF access and tourism committee and also of its Land Reform Task committee is an East Board member of SNH (1). Furthermore Land-Care was informed that the the same person was a member of the three person committee that appointed the new access officer. So there was no requirement to have further SNH representation either on the appointments committee, or indeed supervising how SNH funds were being used (allegedly independent of SNH) in order to facilitate the implementation of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.That CODE is still in draft form (2) and must surely be subject to change - that is if the 1386 responses to the consultation mean anything (3).

The write-up in Landowning in Scotland made no mention of the training or experience of the successful candidate. It transpires the new SLF access officer, although holding a degree in Environment Management from the University of Dundee, has no training or experience in farming/agriculture but has previous work experience in nursing.

Reference to the University of Dundee website informed that Environmental Management came under the Department of Arts and Social Sciences. Reference to the content of the course revealed no mention of either farming or agriculture, but a passing reference to forestry in terms of community woods next urban areas. Further pursuit of the University of Dundee's excellent website provided the reader with a contact telephone number of a person who was able to answer enquiries specially relating to the Environmental Management course. To the best of her knowledge this well informed person was not aware that any of the teaching staff participating in the course had any significant qualification in farming/agriculture.

Both the helpful spokesperson and the Dundee University website emphasised how successful graduates of the course were in getting jobs with environment agencies such as SNH and the National Trust, and with Councils in their town planning departments.

But Land-Care had hoped that the SLF would be more concerned about getting the legitimate interest of farming at least partially represented and explained in terms of this onslaught of environmentalists. After all farming is involved in some 85% of the land in Scotland, and central to the Draft Scottish Outdoor Access Code is open access to farmland. How can all these environmentalists be credible in this context when they have little or no training or experience in how land is managed?

The SLF is represented on the Access Forum that drafted - and now will be redrafting - the Access Code. What hat is the SLF wearing? Why won't they agree to their full response to the SNH consultation paper on the draft Access Code being published on Land-Care (4)? Is it just because they do not like the questions Land-Care raises?

© www.land-care.org.uk


1. Scottish Natural Heritage (2003). Register of interest of regional board members.
Extrated information also available on www.land-care.org.uk, Click here to view

2. Scottish Natural Heritage (2003). Draft Scottish Outdoor Access Code

3. Editorial (2003). Draft Scottish Outdoor Access Code: Lack of adequate public access to the responses to consultation
See Scottish Outdoor Access HOMEPAGE, filed 03 Oct 03, www.land-care.org.uk, Click here to view

4. Editorial (2003). Draft Scottish Outdoor Access Code: Land-Care's contribution to more openness over the responses.
See Scottish Outdoor Access HOMEPAGE, filed 03 Oct 03, www.land-care.org.uk, Click here to view