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Biodiversity and landscapes priority for draft National Park Plan

12th April 2006

Conserving and Enhancing the Park’s Biodiversity and Landscapes is a key priority in the developing National Park Plan for the Cairngorms and with the launch of the consultation on the Draft Plan, now is the opportunity for everyone to make their viewpoint known.

The biodiversity of habitats and species as well as the landscapes of the Park are high amongst its special qualities.  They are prized for their own innate value and as the basis for many of the Park’s socio economic resources.  Their conservation and enhancement is interdependent with land-use, relying to a  large extent on the maintenance of land management systems supporting them.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority’s (CNPA) Head of Natural Heritage, David Bale said: “Conserving and enhancing the biodiversity and landscapes of the Park is a long-term commitment but immediate action is required to tackle specific issues in order to ensure the Park’s biodiversity and landscapes are as strong and robust as possible to adapt to future changes.

“One of the major challenges of course is climate change and although the full effects cannot be predicted, positive management now can ensure that species and habitats can adapt to changes and that plans for mitigating some likely changes can be put in place.”

The Draft National Park Plan sets out some immediate areas of work and anyone with an interest is encouraged to get involved in the National Park Plan consultation and make their views known.

The Draft National Park Plan sets out the long term vision – 25 years – for the Park as a whole as well as the key priorities for the first five years of the Plan, from 2007 to 2012.

Some of the key aims proposed for the first five years with regards to the priority Conserving and Enhancing the Park’s Biodiversity and Landscapes are:

  • Important habitats will be better connected to give them a greater chance of survival and support more biodiversity.
  • Threats to habitats and species will be identified and action to conserve them will be set in motion.
  • There will be the provision of landscape interpretation at viewpoints that show the Cairngorms landscape.
  • There will be public support for land management tailored to promote expansion of habitat networks and target sites identified.

George Hogg from Scottish Natural Heritage commented: “Visitor surveys consistently show that the outstanding landscapes and scenery are by far the most important factor attracting people to visit the Park.  The unique mix of nature and wildlife are important contributors to the landscapes of the Park and points of interest for residents and visitors alike.  For example the native pinewoods which are a key part of the landscape and breeding ospreys as a particular species sought out by many visitors.

“The Park’s biodiversity and landscapes are of national and international importance in their own right, but they are also vital assets underpinning the Park’s recreational appeal and the success of the local economy.  There is therefore a host of reasons why we are looking forward to working with the Park Authority and other partners to develop and deliver this key priority for action.”

The consultation period for the National Park Plan is from April to end of June 2006.  Following the consultation, a report summarising the responses will be prepared and the final Park Plan will be developed, with partners for submission, to Ministers at the end of 2006.  This is the first National Park Plan for the Cairngorms and although the Plan looks ahead to 2030, a new series of priorities will be published every five years.

More information on the Draft National Park Plan can be found on the National Park Plan homepage.

To get involved in the National Park Plan consultation please contact the CNPA at: National Park Plan Consultation, 14 The Square, Grantown-on-Spey, Moray, PH26 3HG. Tel: 01479 873535  fax: 01479 873527  email: [email protected]