§ Mr. Galbraith
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to prevent erosion in popular mountain areas; and if he will make a statement.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
Erosion in mountain areas, including the most popular, is caused to a very large extent by natural forces. The Countryside Commission for Scotland devotes considerable attention to ways of minimising erosion caused by human pressure on popular mountain areas. The commission is, for example, consulted about all significant planning applications, including proposals for hill tracks, in national scenic areas. In addition it has(a) spent approximately £120,000 to date on the upland footpath project; (b) published advice on the better construction of hill tracks; (c) commissioned research into methods of restoring vegetation on high ground; and (d) produced, jointly with Highland regional council, a manual of good practice in managing and developing ski-fields. The commission also has plans to study the present arrangements for managing the balance between recreation and countryside conservation, with particular reference to the Cairngorms. We shall consider carefully any recommendations rising from this exercise.