An area around Ronas Hill and North Roe is likely to be the only place in Shetland designated as wild land, protecting it from developments including windfarms.
The 5,000 hectare zone is one of 43 “core areas” of wild character in Scotland which Scottish Natural Heritage believes should be protected, along with National Parks and National Scenic Areas.
The proposal to safeguard land comes in a draft national planning framework, written by MSP Derek Mackay, minister for local government and planning, and is open to consultation until 23rd July. The document has two themes: to allow “sustainable economic growth” and to allow the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Mr Mackay said SNH mapping would inform planning guidance for windfarms, and the new proposal would mean 31 per cent of Scotland would be excluded from windfarm development, including the existing 19 per cent covered by National Parks and National Scenic Areas. The document also suggests areas for marine renewable energy, and describes the proposed expansion of Aberdeen Harbour as being of national significance, as well as to Shetland, Orkney and the North East of Scotland.
The document will be finalised next year.