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Park Talk: A look back at 2021

22nd December 2021

By CNPA Convener, Xander McDade

As Convener, I always have the pleasure of writing the last Park Talk of the year – a chance to reflect on the previous 12 months and all that has been achieved despite the challenges.

I hope that you enjoy these blogs from my fellow board members during the year. We are fortunate at the Cairngorms National Park Authority to have a wide range of experience and expertise on our board and I appreciate the support they – as well as CNPA staff – offer me as Convener of the UK’s largest national park.

Looking back over our Park Talk musings, we have been able to share our knowledge, insight and thoughts on a really wide range of issues and the common threads running through all of these articles are nature, people and place. Exactly the three themes we have focussed the next Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan (NPPP) on.

The NPPP sets out how all those with a responsibility for the National Park will co-ordinate their work to tackle the most important issues, setting a framework for all the public bodies delivering relevant functions here. By the time you read this, the consultation on the NPPP will have closed. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their views.

The consultation on the NPPP and the adoption of the Cairngorms Local Development Plan, more or less, book-ended 2021and an incredible amount of work has been done in between.

There was a second round of Green Recovery Funding, in partnership with the Cairngorms Trust, which brought the total amount given to local projects to help recover from the impacts of Covid-19 to £433,000.

£1million was invested by the CNPA in people and infrastructure to ensure that everyone could enjoy their visit to the Park while safeguarding the area’s wildlife, landscapes and communities. We recruited and trained new rangers to support visitors and land managers, with their presence in popular areas greatly appreciated, and we provided funds for dedicated police patrols. Infrastructure improvements took place across the Park – car parks were extended, paths improved and, in some places, traffic calming measures and other multi-partner activities took place.

Conservation work for priority species from capercaillie to pine hoverflies continued and health walks and volunteering returned. Woodland expansion and peatland restoration were also high on the agenda.

Our bid to the National Lottery Heritage Horizons (NLHH) programme was successful with an award of £12.5 million from NLHF as part of a total £40million, 7 year programme called Cairngorms 2030. The CNPA is leading the project, which brings together over 45 partners to achieve inclusive, transformational change for people and nature. The project will tackle climate change, protect and enhance biodiversity, and deliver meaningful improvements to people’s health and wellbeing. I look forward to being able to share more information about this with you in the future.

There is so much more I could highlight to readers but there just isn’t the space. Do please continue to enjoy Park Talk in 2022 and in the meantime have a Very Happy Christmas and a great New Year.