The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has reached its first major milestone in the development of a National Park Plan, with the publication of the emerging Plan’s vision and objectives.
The draft vision and objectives, which provide a starting point and sense of direction for the Park Plan, were outlined to CNPA board members at their latest meeting (Friday 8 April).
The CNPA has been consulting widely with a range of organisations and interested parties and the emerging vision and objectives are a result of these early discussions.
The overall vision for the National Park, as outlined in the board paper, talks of a National Park where the outstanding environment is enhanced and enjoyed; where there is understanding of the area’s national importance; where there are thriving communities and where there is effective management of the area’s resources.
In addition, the Cairngorms National Park will be a place that inspires people and where people feel a sense of pride and shared purpose and where residents and visitors want to take an active role in shaping the Park’s future.
CNPA Vice-Convener Eric Baird commented: “The vision outlined in the paper reflects our aspirations for what the Park should be like at least 25 years in the future and provides an overarching direction, not just for the CNPA, but for other partners. Therefore, this must be a Park Plan that reflects everyone’s aspirations and every organisation, business and individual should be able to relate to the Park Plan and want to buy into it.”
The objectives for the Park Plan are grouped into three themes the first being ‘conserving and enhancing the Park’ where key issues such as as minimising habitat loss; developing understanding of the interactions of land-uses and nature conservation; Park-wide coordination of deer management and maintaining the wild characteristics of areas within the Park, all feature.
‘Communities living and working in the Park’ relates to key principles including:
- the economy – to promote diversity and quality of employment opportunities;
- education and training – to promote access to education and vocational training at all levels.
- tourism – to ensure effective involvement by all in the planning, development and management of tourism in the Cairngorms.
- transport and communications – to encourage and support improvements to public transport and accessibility.
- renewable energy – help achieve national targets for greater renewable production through community and domestic scale schemes.
The third theme – ‘understanding and enjoying the Park’ – involves key areas such as outdoor access, visitor management and learning and understanding. In this area the National Park Plan can set out high expectations for the maintenance of the quality of the Cairngorms environment by encouraging sound environmental practices and supporting conservation by all those involved in tourism.
Hamish Trench, the CNPA’s Park Plan Officer said: “The Park Plan is a real opportunity to address the issues at the heart of our designation as a National Park. It is a new opportunity for the whole public sector to develop the way it works and show that it can be joined-up and efficient.
“It is also a new opportunity for private and community sectors to engage in shaping the future of the Park, to move the agenda forward and find new ways to address the issues that have in some cases been discussed for so many years.”
The next stage of the National Park Plan process is to hold intensive discussions with partners and other interested bodies to ensure that the Plan includes realistic actions that will make a difference, with some certainty of delivery and broad support. There will then be a broader opportunity for everyone to contribute to the National Park Plan when it goes out for public consultation in spring 2006.
This board paper can be accessed in full at www.cairngorms.co.uk/parkauthority/papers