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Cairngorms National Park

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Green recovery progress for Park

27th November 2020

The Board of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has been discussing the progress made to aid the ‘green’ recovery after the organisation introduced a range of measures to tackle the impacts of Covid-19.

Earlier in the year, the Scottish Government announced that the recovery from Covid-19 needed to deliver a fairer, greener, more equal society. With that in mind, a plan for a green recovery in the Cairngorms National Park was agreed by the CNPA board in June.

The CNPA, working with a range of partners, has been involved in a considerable amount of work across the Park this summer but members acknowledged that while progress is being made, recovery from Covid-19 remains difficult with many businesses and residents still trying to stay safe but also manage within the restrictions.

Convener of the CNPA Board, Xander McDade commented: “The recovery from Covid-19 is going to take a lot more time and money and different businesses and communities will be affected in different ways. Sadly, some businesses in the Park will not survive. There is no doubt that these are difficult times for businesses and communities across the Park but the CNPA and its partners are committed to providing support where we can best add value.”

At today’s (Friday 27th November) online Board meeting, members discussed the variety of work being carried out and some of the initiatives planned for 2021 to continue the recovery.

Grant Moir, CNPA Chief Executive said: “As part of the Green Recovery Plan one of the first things we did – along with The Cairngorms Trust – was set up a fund to help kick start the process and to date we have distributed £130,000 to support a variety of projects that offer green solutions, encourage economic growth and well-being in communities as well as supporting employment opportunities and the aims of the Park. Funds have been awarded to help build car parks, paths and outdoor ‘rooms’, organise litter picks, tree planting, support for creative enterprises and various other initiatives.

“In addition to this, the CNPA along with the Cairngorms Business Partnership has played a key role in visitor marketing, encouraging people to visit at times when it has been permitted and to entice people in the future when restrictions are eased. We’re also supporting digital connectivity improvements, which is extremely important to be able to help visitors plan their activities when they are here, allow businesses to work effectively and efficiently and simply let people stay in touch with family and friends when unable to meet in person.

“The CNPA’s funding for and recruitment of volunteer rangers to support local services, land managers and visitors has been particularly impactful and this is something we are committed to in the long term.”

At the same meeting, members were presented with a review of visitor management services during 2020, detailing the work that has been undertaken in the Park and also looking at activities over the winter as the organisation looks to the future.

Pete Crane, Head of Visitor Services at the CNPA said: “Pete Crane, Head of Visitor Services at the CNPA said: “The visitor management efforts by a range of partners in these unprecedented times and the coordinated efforts of land managers, emergency services, rangers and so on, has gone a long way to safely welcome – and limit negative impacts – of the vast numbers of people attracted to key ‘hot spots’ across the National Park. A dedicated and flexible Park ranger service, able to work when and where they are most needed will be essential in the future. The CNPA ranger team has clearly shown the need for this very important resource during 2020.

“Looking to the winter season ahead, if it proves a great season for ski-ing we could face some further issues, especially in relation to roads and parking so we are speaking to the ski centres and Police Scotland about this to ensure peoples safety.”

A further update on the progress being made in relation to the Green Recovery Plan will be brought before the CNPA Board in June next year with many of the guiding principles being incorporated into the development of the next National Park Partnership Plan 2022-2027, which will start to be developed during 2021.

To read the CNPA Board papers in full, please go here