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Environment Minister praises partnership working in the Park

14th March 2008

The Scottish Government’s Minister for the Environment, Mike Russell has said that effective partnerships are making a significant impact on helping to create a world class national park in the Cairngorms.

Speaking today (Friday 14 March) at the Cairngorms National Park Strategy Group meeting – taking place in the new Boat of Garten Community Hall – Mr Russell praised the work being carried out by all those involved in delivering the actions set out in the Cairngorms National Park Plan.

The Park Plan is a document which sets out the long-term vision for the Park (25 years) with seven priorities for action for the first five years of the Plan (2007-2012). It guides the work of all those involved in the Cairngorms.

Mr Russell said: “National Parks in Scotland have now established firm foundations to ensure that these special places are managed and cared for effectively.

“The Cairngorms National Park Authority and its partners in the public and private sector are forging a new era in Scotland’s natural and cultural landscape – working together to achieve a shared vision of sustainable development and growth in our rural communities. By balancing difficult and sometimes conflicting interests they are achieving the best possible outcomes for the area.

“Sustainable development and growth is our primary strategic purpose for Scotland and National Parks have the opportunity to lead the way.”

Since the launch of the Park Plan last year several areas of work have made significant progress. An effective public sector partnership effort involving Angus Council, the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland is seeing the development of a new ranger base in the Angus Glens, helping towards the priority for action, ‘Raising Awareness and Understanding of the Park’.

The public and private sectors have come together in a bid to achieve the actions set out in the ‘Making Tourism and Business More Sustainable’ priority. Various initiatives are emerging including the Cairngorms Chamber of Commerce working with members to help them achieve the necessary green credentials in order that they can use the Cairngorms National Park brand to promote the Chamber and all its members collectively.

Working with Housing Plus, a range of public sector organisations and community councils and groups, an initiative aimed at communities highlighting their own priorities for development in their area has just been completed in Grantown-on-Spey, Advie, Cromdale and Dulnain Bridge and is set to be rolled out in Moray. Working towards the priority for action, ‘Making Housing Affordable and Sustainable’, the ‘Our Community… A Way Forward’ involves residents taking the lead on local projects with a funding commitment from the agencies involved to ensure successes are built on for the future.

Convener of the CNPA, David Green said: “We are delighted that the Minister has been able to join us for the Strategy Group meeting today and especially as we are in this fantastic new community facility in Boat of Garten – itself a good example of partnership working – which in this case was led by the community and supported by a variety of public and private sector organisations.

“To truly create a world class national park takes strong and effective partnerships mixed in with a great deal of enthusiasm for getting the job done. I think we are certainly seeing that here in the Cairngorms and its credit to all of those agencies, organisations and groups involved.”