LISTEN: Xander McDade explains what the new rangers will be expected to do and how they might help
With a new budget approved, the council is setting out to manage the treatment of Highland Perthshire’s environment by taking on new rangers in the countryside.
The move comes from the Independent/Labour group who’ve proposed that over the next 2 years £240,000 be spent on piloting the new initiative.
Councillor Xander McDade, Independent representative for the Highland Ward, explained: “So I think, obviously we have a wonderful right to roam in Scotland under the access legislation that came through the Scottish Parliament after its founding.
“And those laws allow people to access the outdoors in a way that is not common in a lot of countries, it’s more common in Northern Europe, and that really brings with it a lot of wonderful rights.
“But paired with that, it comes with a lot of responsibilities and people are expected to follow the access code but people don’t know what the details of what the responsibilities are.
“And that can come down to the most basic things like making sure people shut gates when they’re going through farmland, ect.
“Or it can be making sure you don’t start fires. A lot of people obviously have an image of going out to the countryside and lighting a fire.
“And that’s wonderful, but it actually can pose major risks, not just for our environment, but it actually has the potential to set significant wildfires going; causing a nuisance locally.”
Now the rangers will be responsible for deterring mistakes like these to be made out in Highland Perthshire’s scenic countryside.
They’re there to start a dialogue with people who’ve made their way out into the wild or even some of Highland Perthshire’s little nooks and crannies off by little laybys.
Cllr McDade added: “So it’s absolutely vital that actually, not just that we secure this money now, but actually start recruiting now, because if we don’t start recruiting now we won’t have them in time for the summer season.
“I was very pleased to be able to negotiate this in the council budget, because, for me, I represent forty-three per cent of Perth and Kinross Council’s landmass.
“And probably a much percentage of the issues occurred in my ward than anywhere else.
“So, for me, this was a really big issue for my communities this year, and they feel a lot of frustration around it.
“And it impacts not just on our communities, but also on our businesses because if people don’t have a good experience here, they don’t come back and that’s not good for anyone.”