Work on delivering the Cairngorms National Park Plan was given a boost today (Friday 28 September) when the Scottish Government’s Minister for the Environment sent a message of encouragement and support to everyone involved in achieving the vision set out in the National Park Plan.
Representatives from 16 different public sector organisations, business, community and voluntary groups, as well as representatives from the land management community gathered in Aviemore this morning to discuss progress on delivering the National Park Plan’s outcomes.
Minister for the Environment Michael Russell was due to attend today’s event but due to unforeseen circumstances had to cancel his attendance at short notice. However, he sent his congratulations to everyone involved in developing the Plan and expressed his confidence in those tasked with delivering what is set out in the document, saying:
“The first Cairngorms National Park Plan sets out a clear vision for the future. The partner organisations who have developed the Park Plan now have the challenge of translating it into actions on the ground. A good start has been made but it will take the continued commitment of all those involved to make the National Park Plan work.
“I would like to send a message of support and encouragement to everyone attending the event today to rise to the challenge of ensuring the Cairngorms National Park Plan is delivered.”
The National Park Plan sets out the long term vision (25 years) for the Park as well as Priorities for Action during the first five years of the Plan (2007 – 2012). It provides a clear strategy and framework for the long-term future of the Park, its communities and natural and cultural heritage. The Plan has been produced through collaboration between the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) and its partners, including public, private and voluntary groups. There has also been considerable input from local residents and other interested parties.
It’s this collaborative approach that sees the CNPA and partner organisations working together in seven delivery teams to make sure that the National Park Plan’s Priorities for Action are implemented over the next five years. In addition, three advisory forums focusing on three key areas – understanding and enjoying the Park: communities living and working in the Park and conserving, enhancing and managing the Park – have been set up to give direction and advice on the Park’s management and the implementation of the Plan.
David Green, Convener of the CNPA said: “It took considerable time and consultation to produce a Cairngorms National Park Plan that was balanced and that addressed the needs and priorities of the Park. It is right – as we meet officially for the first time since the Plan was approved back in April – to thank and congratulate everyone involved in that process.
“Whilst it is a significant achievement the focus of all involved must now move to delivering the seven Priorities for Action, which are identified as being the most pressing issues and challenges facing the Park.
“I believe that there is commitment from everyone and there is considerable enthusiasm to drive forward together to create an outstanding National Park that can thrive and be enjoyed by all for generations to come.”
Although today marks the first meeting of the advisory forums and the first occasion that all those involved in delivering the National Park Plan have come together in one room since its approval, work on a number of projects relating to the Priorities for Action in the National Park Plan have already been delivered or are well underway.
- Conserving and enhancing biodiversity and landscapes – the framework for a sustainability fund, giving grants for energy efficient and sustainable projects around the Park, has been developed and applications for support funding from public and private organisations are being submitted. This fund will help create a sustainable Park, combating climate change and protecting the Park’s special qualities.
- Providing high quality opportunities for outdoor access – the Outdoor Access Strategy for the Park has been approved and its policies and priorities will provide better provision, variety and quality of outdoor access.
- Making housing more affordable and sustainable – a project launched earlier this year will see vacant steadings and buildings around the Park being renovated into affordable rented accommodation.
Other speakers at today’s event were Jane Hope, Chief Executive of the CNPA; Andrew Thin, Chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage; Duncan MacKellar of the Cairngorms Chamber of Commerce; Lorraine MacPherson and Anna Barton from Boat of Garten; Andrew Wells from Glenlivet Estate and Robin Gilbert from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
The National Park Plan will undergo a full review in 2012. Copies of the National Park Plan can be downloaded from the CNPA website