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Cairngorms National Park Authority welcomes National Parks review findings

19th August 2009

THE Cairngorms National Park Authority has welcomed the Scottish Government’s findings on the review of National Parks.

Roseanna Cunningham, minister for National Parks, today (18th August) announced the conclusions into the Strategic Review on National Parks. Under the announcement both of Scotland’s National Park Authorities will continue as free-standing public bodies, recognising the distinct character and priorities of each Park as well as the work by the Authorities to build strong community links. The findings follow a public consultation held during last year, which highlighted the local support for the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) to be retained as it currently is.

Under the proposals, which are to go out for public consultation, the board will go from its current 25 members to 19. The mix of locally elected, ministerial appointed and council nominated board members will remain, to help ensure local and national accountability as well as a balance of skills and experience. The number of locally directly elected members will remain at five. Of the seven council nominated members Angus, Moray and Perth and Kinross Councils will each nominate one member, and the larger Aberdeenshire and Highland councils will each nominate two members. The remaining seven members will be appointed directly by Scottish Government Ministers. The changes are expected to take place by October 2010.

A Ministerially-chaired group will also be set up to look at the wider strategic issues surrounding National Parks.

The review found: “The benefits of setting up National Park Authorities as separate organisations tailored to their Park have been the establishment of good roots within their local communities, responding to local priorities.”

The Minister also welcomed the move by both NPAs in sharing services and resources where appropriate.

David Green, the CNPA’s convener, said the findings showed that the CNPA was delivering on its commitment to work in partnership with all those involved in the Park.

“The findings are an endorsement of the CNPA’s work with communities across the Park. These communities, which includes business, education and land management, and with support from the public sector, are committed to delivering what is needed in the Park – initiatives such as Our Community a Way Forward, which is being rolled out across the Park to bring communities and agencies together, to identify issues that are important to them and to secure support for them; and the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust, a charity which promotes and maintains sustainable access to the Cairngorms area. The Cairngorms Business Partnership is a project which will bring businesses around the Park together to create a Park-wide alliance, promoting the iconic brand of the Park and where resources and expertise could be shared.

“Today’s announcement is important as it also recognises that the Cairngorms National Park has it own distinct character and issues that must be addressed at both a local and national level. For example we are currently working with education experts to build the Cairngorms National Park into the Government’s Curriculum for Excellence, using the National Park as a tool for learning in a range of subjects

Duncan MacKellar, Chair of the Aviemore and Cairngorms Destination Management Organisation and a member of the Cairngorms Business Partnership’s steering group said: “The value of the Cairngorms National Park Authority remaining a free- standing public body cannot be under-estimated. The business community welcomes this announcement, which allows the continuation of local engagement across a whole raft of initiatives, to deliver local, regional and national policy. It enables the decision making process to remain inclusive. This is vitally important for the well-being of the businesses driving the local economy, which are the life blood of the communities within the Cairngorms National Park.”