Countryside campigners to march in Edinburgh next month to protest again the plight of rural communities in Scotland

Countryside campaigners will gather in Edinburgh on 16 December to stage what is expected to be the largest protest march north of the border since the poll tax demonstrations. The “March on the Mound” intends to bring to the attention of the Scottish Executive, the plight of the rural communities.

The demonstration will begin at 12 noon with a rally at the Meadows, a park south of the city centre, and will be followed by the march, which will pass the Scottish Parliament.

The decision to march in Scotland comes as a result of what the director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance Allan Murray has called: “a systematic attack on the countryside through ill-informed and ill-motivated proposals for new legislation.”

Both Lord Watson’s Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill, which is reaching its final stages and the Land Reform Bill, due to be published this week in the Scottish Parliament, have provoked outrage.

Mr Murray said: “People feel they are having to fight for liberties that have been a way of life for generations.

“Rural communities are going through desperately difficult times at the moment. We’ve had foot-and-mouth, BSE, fuel prices and the most dire economic circumstances in rural communities for more than 20 years.

“We want our politicians on The Mound to know that people in the countryside are facing real problems that need real solutions. The Scottish Parliament needs to get its priorities right instead of focusing on issues such as the anti-hunting bill.”

See this week’s Horse & Hound (29 November) for an indepth report on the Scottish march.