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Consultation on fire byelaws for National Park gets underway

8th February 2024

A 10 week consultation asking the public for their views on the possible introduction of fire byelaws in the Cairngorms National Park starts today (Thursday 8 February 2024).

The Cairngorms National Park Authority is carrying out the consultation after its board agreed last year to consider the options for minimising the risks of wildfires starting, in a bid to reduce the risk to people, nature and property in the Park.

Wildfire risk is increasing in Scotland and climate modelling shows a predicted increase in drought periods. The Cairngorms National Park is home to 25% of the UK’s rare and endangered species and around half of Scotland’s ancient pinewoods. It is home to 18,000 people and around 2 million people visit the area each year.

Sandy Bremner, Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority board said: “A significant wildfire in the National Park could have devastating consequences for the area’s environment, communities and economy so it is really important that we carefully consider how we reduce the risks and plan for the future.

”We have been extremely lucky not to have witnessed wildfires on the scale that we saw last summer in Cannich and at Daviot but residents and land managers have expressed their concerns directly to us. We think this is a good time to have those conversations and gather views on whether byelaws should form part of the Park’s approach to reducing the risk of wildfire going forward.”

The consultation sets out three potential options for respondents to give their views on. These are:

  • No byelaws to be introduced and instead build on the current approach, investing in education and communications to raise awareness of the risks of fires in the National Park.
  • The second option is a byelaw which would ban recreational fires – only at times of high fire risk – with certain exemptions such as private gardens.
  • A final option would be a year round fire management byelaw which would restrict recreational fires with certain exceptions, 12 months of the year.

The public are also asked if there are any other proposals they think would be appropriate with the Park Authority making clear that it is not putting forward a preferred option as part of this process.

Grant Moir, Cairngorms National Park Authority Chief Executive commented: “No single approach will take away all of that risk but we need to look at all the options as we develop an overall Integrated Fire Management Plan for the National Park.

“The Board will consider all the consultation responses in June and will decide which option to take forward as a Park Authority. It is really important that we hear all views on this important issue.”

To take part in the consultation please go here.