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Back to Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) Homepage

Email to Bridget Dales, SNH:
Responses to Draft Scottish Outdoor Access Code Consultation

James Irvine

Farmer and editor, LandCare Scotland and www.land-care.org.uk

(Filed 23 Sept 03)

23 Sept 03

To: Bridget Dales, Recreation and Access Group SNH, Battleby

Thank you for arranging for me to view on Monday 22nd September the responses received by SNH to the consultation on its Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC), closing date 30 June 03.

In an earlier email to me in July you indicated the preliminary breakdown of these responses and said that SNH hoped to publicise the confirmed final number in the next few days. I wonder if you have available the confirmed breakdown of the responses as SNH chooses to classify them.

My visit to SNH Battleby revealed that the responses were filed in order of receipt together with a list of their authors in the same order. There was no database or other system whereby responses from specific bodies or individuals could readily be traced - one just had to look though a list of some 1300+ to find each individual one. On this basic list there was some indication that the responses had been classified in some way, but your assistant was unable to tell me what the letters meant.

I find this extraordinary in view of the importance of these responses and the immense amount of time and effort that that those responding had clearly dedicated to the task, indicating the depth of their concern.

I asked your assistant if I may please have a copy of the list of responses so that precious time is not wasted sitting at SNH trying to find responses from organisations and others who have not made their full responses available on their websites. She declined to provide me with a photocopy and promised to ask you about this, adding that SNH would get back to me promptly.

In the time available to me on Monday 22 Sept (some five and a half hours) I managed to review the first 500 + responses which certainly provided a good feel for the tone of these responses. But I failed in my other objective which was to be able to read those responses that are in the public domain from specific organisations etc due to the regrettable lack of proper organisation of the information - more than two and a half months from the closing date.

I note that SNH is due to present a paper at the conference on 1st October on Land Reform, Dewar Centre, Perth. Is it that the results of the consultation are going to be presented without their being an efficient way for those other than SNH itself to independently analyse them?

I would be grateful for your prompt response.

Yours sincerely

Dr James Irvine
Farmer and Editor, LandCare Scotland and www.land-care.org.uk
Email: landcarescotland@aol.com