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A landowner from Scotland who hinders public access has been appointed as the environment minister.

The number ten has selected a affluent landowner from Scotland, who has been accused by hikers of limiting public entry to his property, to serve as the new minister of environment by granting him a peerage.

On Friday afternoon, the government unexpectedly announced that Robbie Douglas-Miller would be granted the title of baron, enabling him to become a minister in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The text did not provide any personal information about Douglas-Miller, however he is thought to be a Scottish entrepreneur whose relatives were the proprietors of Jenners, a department store in Edinburgh.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Douglas-Miller has extensive experience in conservation projects and was honored with an OBE for his contributions to wildlife conservation in Scotland. He currently holds the position of managing director at Moorfoot Capital.

Douglas-Miller was the leader of a charitable organization named the Atlantic Salmon Trust. The board included Scottish secretary Alister Jack and the patron was King Charles.

Ramblers Scotland has voiced their disapproval of his actions, as they believe he is hindering hikers from reaching the East Lothian’s Lammermuir Hills site on his Hopes estate.

During the pandemic, the area saw a rise in popularity among walkers. However, the estate implemented a new car park and gate system. It has been reported that access is only permitted three to four days a week and requires advanced purchase of permits.

According to a report from the National in March, Ramblers Scotland stated that their members had observed a limited availability of permits for sale. Despite the car park having a capacity for 20 cars, only 14 permits were being sold each month and they were quickly sold out.

We do not think it is feasible to continue having a parking lot that is only open on specific days and requires a permit to use.

“This poses an obstacle for public accessibility as there is no public transportation available to this location and it requires a lengthy walk from Gifford or nearby areas.”

Jon Moses, a member of the Right to Roam campaign, expressed disapproval of the selection. He stated, “The government has chosen another unchosen individual with significant land ownership to oversee our environment and rural matters. Defra’s image is becoming more like that of a refined medieval court.”

“However, the highly anticipated access reforms seem to only involve giving tax money to landowners in exchange for limited access to certain woodlands.”

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The new minister’s stance on nature accessibility seems to differ from the statements made by Steve Barclay, the new environment secretary, to reporters at the Country Land and Business Association conference in London on Thursday.

He expressed a desire to provide “responsible access” to the countryside, allowing individuals to partake in the fresh air.

Barclay stated his intention to assist farmers and landowners through access schemes, expressing that they are currently examining the specifics. He believes individuals desire to be able to enjoy nature while also being responsible in their approach.

According to sources from Defra, Barclay was enthusiastic about social prescribing and promoting outdoor activities as a means to improve mental and physical well-being.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was asked for a statement.

Source: theguardian.com