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Environment Secretary reflects on new Cairngorms Plan

1st June 2017

The Scottish Government’s Environment Secretary has launched the new Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan (NPPP), while enjoying the Park’s stunning landscape from a unique perspective!

Roseanna Cunningham was in the Cairngorms National Park today (Thursday 1 June) to launch the Plan, meet with delivery partners and view the latest installation on the ‘Snow Roads’ Scenic Route. She also met with the Tomintoul & Glenlivet Landscape Partnership to hear about the £3.6million rural regeneration work going on there.

The Cairngorms NPPP (2017-2022) aims to deliver a range of outcomes including an increase in woodland expansion, more restoration of peatlands as well as investment in the Deeside and Speyside Way extensions. There are also commitments to support the delivery of superfast broadband to the hardest to reach corners of the Park, more volunteering opportunities and the introduction of a ‘visitor giving’ scheme to help maintain the Park’s extensive visitor infrastructure and outstanding natural heritage. There is also a target – working with a range of partners – to deliver 200 new affordable houses in the Cairngorms National Park by 2022.

Environment Secretary Ms Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland’s National Parks conserve and enhance our rich natural and cultural heritage, while supporting the sustainable development local communities want and need. That’s why I am delighted to launch the Cairngorms plan, which sets out how that balance will be achieved between now and 2022, and which has been developed in full consultation with those same communities.

“I’m also pleased to visit and view the final installation on the ‘Snow Roads’ scenic route. Back in 2013, we made a commitment to improve and market Scotland’s unrivalled scenic routes. Britain’s highest road is now part of that successful programme after benefitting from a range of enhancements designed to showcase the area’s stunning scenery to all road users.”

CNPA Convener, Peter Argyle commented: “We are delighted to welcome the Environment Secretary to the Cairngorms National Park today to launch the new Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan. It is the key document that shapes the work of – not only the Park Authority – but all those involved in the Park working across conservation, visitor experience and rural development.

“Working together I think the Plan is ambitious but achievable and I would like to thank all those who took the time to respond to the consultation and all those who from now, will be working hard to help us make it a reality.”

While in the Cairngorms National Park today, the Cabinet Secretary viewed the final installation of Scotland’s latest Scenic Route – the ‘Snow Roads’, an outstanding mountainous road through the National Park linking Blairgowrie (A93) to Grantown-on-Spey (A939) via Braemar, Ballater and Tomintoul. It is the highest public road in Britain and is regularly used by classic car and motor bike enthusiasts and increasingly road cyclists, offering an alternative to the A9, traversing the eastern Cairngorms through remote, wild and breath-taking landscapes.

There are now three installations and upgraded laybys on the route at the famous Devil’s Elbow at Glenshee, at Corgarff and the final one at Craighaulkie Quarry on the outskirts of Tomintoul.

This work is part of the Scottish Government’s Scenic Routes project, which takes its inspiration from a similar, successful initiative in Norway and aims to enhance visitors’ experience of Scotland’s landscape by creating innovatively designed viewpoints.

The first installation was on the A939 at Corgarff – ‘The Watchers’ – a group of cowled seats where people can take in the views over Glen Avon and Deeside. At Glenshee there is a viewpoint seat, path and visitor information point at the layby at Creagan Nam Cam and – receiving the Cabinet Secretary’s approval today – ‘The Still’ is the final of the trio, where an improved path takes you to an elevated viewpoint cube with stunning views of the Cairngorms.

Afterwards, the Cabinet Secretary took the time to see the ongoing redevelopment of the community owned visitor centre in the Square in Tomintoul where she chatted with the team behind various regeneration projects that are happening in the area.