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Park Authority to consult on introduction of fire byelaws

24th November 2023

The board of the Cairngorms National Park Authority has agreed to carry out a consultation on whether to introduce fire management byelaws on a Park-wide basis.

Meeting today (Friday 24 November), the board was presented with various options on what a fire management byelaw could include or cover, with a proposal to begin a public consultation in January.

Grant Moir, Chief Executive of the Cairngorms National Park Authority explained: “Wildfire risk is increasing in Scotland and climate modelling shows a predicted increase in drought periods and we need to consider ways to reduce the risk to people, nature and property in the National Park.”

The Cairngorms National Park Authority is setting out three potential options that will form the basis of the consultation including the possibility of a year round fire management byelaw to restrict fires with certain exceptions.

A further proposal would be a time limited fire management byelaw which would only apply at times of high fire risk.

The third and final option is to not introduce any byelaws – remaining with the status quo – and instead continue to develop a robust communications and education programme.

Convener of the Park Authority board, Sandy Bremner said: “As a board we are very supportive of the Authority’s proposals to consult with residents, land managers, visitors and various partner organisations on the possibility of fire management byelaws being introduced in the Park. We must protect our landscapes, wildlife and communities from the risk of harm from fires so this is an important first step in that process.”

The Park Authority propose to start the consultation in January 2024, which will last for ten weeks. If the board agrees with the introduction of a byelaw, it would require a further period of consultation, approval from the Park Authority board and finally the go ahead from Scottish Government ministers.

Grant Moir added: “If supported, it would be 2025 before any such byelaw could realistically be introduced. We need to consider what is the best option to provide long term safeguards with a growing risk profile around wildfires. No single approach will take away all of that risk but we need to look at all the options as we develop the overall Integrated Fire Management Plan for the National Park. This consultation is part of looking at the options that are open to the Park Authority. ”

To read the board paper in full, please go here.