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Major Milestone in Future Plan for the Cairngorms: National Park Plan goes to Minister for Approval

11th December 2006

Today marks a significant milestone in the development of a comprehensive strategy for the protection, enhancement and development of the Cairngorms National Park.

Public sector bodies operating in the National Park have officially submitted the proposed National Park Plan for the Cairngorms to the Deputy Minister for the Environment and Rural Development, Rhona Brankin MSP. The document will arrive in Edinburgh this morning (Monday 11 December) and it is hoped that the Scottish Executive will approve the contents of the Plan within a few months.

The National Park Plan sets out the long-term vision (25 years) for the Park as well as priorities for action for the first five years of the Plan from 2007 – 2012. The Park Plan will guide the work of all agencies operating within the Cairngorms in working to deliver the four aims of the Park. It has a particular role to play in joining-up the work of the public sector but the private, community and voluntary sectors are also vital to delivering the Plan.

The National Park Plan for the Cairngorms has been produced collectively by all the public sector bodies operating in the Park, led by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) following thorough discussions with all partners and in consultation with members of the public and other interested bodies.

The submission of the Plan to the Scottish Executive follows on from a recent CNPA board meeting (Friday 1 December) where members agreed the contents of the Plan for submission to the Minister.

Further approval was sought from members of the ‘Advisory Panel on Joined-Up Government’ – a group made up of senior representatives of all the public agencies operating in the Park and all signed up to delivering the Plan. The Joined-Up Government group, which includes bodies like Scottish Natural Heritage, Visitscotland and local authorities, gave its seal of approval for the National Park Plan at a recent meeting in Grantown-on-Spey (Monday 4 December).

David Green, Convener of the CNPA and Chairman of the ‘Advisory Panel on Joined-Up Government’ said: “Since the Plan went out for formal consultation in April it has gone through some very constructive changes having listened to the comments received. We would like to thank all those who took the time to have a look at the Draft Plan and make comments, all of which were extremely useful and have helped to improve and complete the Plan.

“One of the general changes that we have made in response to comments received is that the Plan is now much clearer about what difference it will make in the long-term, to the people that live in the Park and to the many visitors. There are quite clear statements about what the Plan seeks to achieve and how we can monitor progress to ensure that the Plan is making a difference, for example enhancing the natural heritage, growing tourism in a sustainable manner or improving the range of affordable housing.

“Together with our partners on the Joined-Up Government group in the Cairngorms we believe that we have now submitted a thorough and effective National Park Plan. We hope it meets with the approval of Ministers and that this is done as quickly as possible. As soon as we have the green light, the challenge will be to ensure that everyone is committed to making the priorities outlined in the Plan happen. Only by building on the work of existing partnerships such as community planning will we be able to look after and improve what we all value in this wonderful area.”

Once approved by the Scottish Executive, the National Park Plan for the Cairngorms will be published and available to anyone who would like a copy. A summary version of the National Park Plan will be delivered to every household in the Cairngorms National Park during the summer of 2007. In the meantime, the Park Plan – as it has been submitted to the Scottish Executive – can be accessed on the CNPA website here.