THE Cairngorms National Park will be a better place to live and visit after the long-term vision for its protection and enhancement was secured today when Scottish Ministers approved the Cairngorms National Park Plan.
The Plan provides a clear strategy and framework for the long-term future of the Park, its communities and natural and cultural heritage.
Over the next 25 years the Plan will bring better habitats, access to the outdoors, housing and tourism to the Park.
There will be better management and planning of conserving the area’s habitats, which will not only protect the Park’s wildlife and species, but will improve the health, enjoyment and well-being of all who use the Park. One of the key drivers in this will be in providing renewable energy, recycling and waste schemes.
More people will also be able to enjoy the Park as it fulfils its ethos of being a Park for All. Outdoor access will be improved, with paths and routes improved to become accessible to all, including cyclists and horse riders. They will also link into more areas which will mean there will be less need to rely on cars to get around the Park.
The Plan will also help to deliver sustainable communities and housing around the Park, including affordable housing. Increased provision will only help retain the young people living in the Park, but it will reduce the barrier housing has become in recruiting and retaining new staff for the businesses operating within the Park.
Tourism is a vital aspect and economy of the Park. The Cairngorms National Park Plan will strengthen the sector, not only in terms of quality, provision and numbers coming to Park, but in the revenue generated with a 50 per cent increase by 2015.
David Green, convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), said: “I am delighted that Ministers have approved the National Park Plan. The CNPA and its partners can now concentrate on delivering it.
“The National Park Plan is a key part of the Cairngorms National Park’s future. The vision is rightly ambitious and the Plan has set us all targets that we must achieve if we want the Park to become a sustainable and world-class community for its habitats, wildlife, residents and visitors.
“But this is only the beginning; the challenge now is for all of us involved in the Park to deliver the Plan. I would like to thank everyone involved in the National Park Plan for their commitment in making this happen. I hope the collaborative approach not only continues but strengthens as we now look to put it in place.”
The National Park Plan sets out both the long-term vision (25 years) for the Park and the Priorities for Action during the first five years (2007-2012).
The strategic themes of the National Park Plan’s 25-year vision focus on conserving and enhancing the Park, living and working in it and enjoying and understanding it. The Plan has laid out the work that will be carried out and continued over the coming 25 years in all areas of the Park.
The National Park Plan has also identified seven Priorities for Action over the next five years which will help deliver the long-term aims. These priorities are concerned with people, to business, environment and wildlife. Whilst not everything set-out within the Plan can be achieved over the next five years, the Priorities identify how significant progress can be made and how they will support the Park aims.
The National Park Plan was produced through collaboration between the CNPA and its partners, public, private and voluntary. There was also considerable input from local residents and interested parties through various public consultation exercises.
The collaborative ethos will be carried forward in the implementation of the Plan, setting out the work everyone, resident, business and visitor, can undertake to make the National Park Plan’s vision a reality.
Jane Hope, Chief Executive of the CNPA, said: “I would like to thank Ministers for approving what the Cairngorms National Park and everyone involved in that have collectively set out as their future responsibilities and aspirations. Like everyone involved, I am very proud that our vision is shared and supported by Ministers.
“A lot of time and effort from many different people has gone into making the National Park Plan a realisation. This is an important milestone for the Cairngorms National Park and everyone involved in it. Our focus now must be in implementing the Plan and making those aspirations a reality.
“It will be a busy five years, but one we are all looking forward to.”
John Milne , Chairman of the Deer Commission for Scotland, said: “Deer are an integral part of the natural heritage and an important resource within the National Park. We welcome the approval of the Cairngorms National Park Plan and will work in partnership with CNPA and other organisations to ensure sustainable deer management is developed and maintained within the Park.”
Councillor Michael Foxley, The Highland Council’s Vice Convener, said: “Highland Council welcomes the publication of the National Park Plan which provides a strong basis for continued collaboration with the Park Authority in progressing the key priorities for action, including access, tourism and the provision of much needed affordable housing within the context of a thriving Badenoch and Strathspey.”
Julia Bracewell OBE, Chair of sportscotland: “sportscotland is pleased that the Cairngorms National Park Plan has been approved by Scottish Ministers. We would like to congratulate everyone involved in the production of this visionary plan, which has already shown to be a good example of partnership working with the public, private and voluntary sectors.
” We look forward to working with the Cairngorm National Park Authority in the implementation of the Plan which will deliver on many of our own corporate objectives, not least the improvement of outdoor access routes and the sustainable and responsible use of our natural resources for sport.”
Andrew Thin, the SNH chairman, said: “It is a significant and welcome piece of news that Ministers have approved the first Cairngorms National Park Plan.
“Scottish Natural Heritage has a strong tradition of proactive partnership working in this, and many other projects across Scotland, and we now look forward to working with partners in helping deliver this Plan for the Scottish people.
“SNH sees this as an ideal opportunity to try out new projects and ways of working and promote the success stories for use in other parts of Scotland.”
David Littlejohn , Scottish Enterprise Grampian global connections director, said: “There is immense potential to increase tourism in and around the park and now the plan has been agreed we look forward to working with the CNPA and other partners to make sure this happens in a sustainable way.”
Work will now commence on implementing and delivering the Plan. Advisory groups, which have cross-partner representation, will be set up to monitor the Plan’s progress and impact. The National Park Plan will also undergo a full review in 2012.
You can download the final approved Cairngorms National Park Plan from www.cairngorms.co.uk from later this month. The draft documents are still available to view. Printed versions will be available from the start of April from Cairngorms National Park Authority, 14 The Square, Grantown-on-Spey, Moray, PH26 3HG