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Progress on Cairngorms National Park priorities

19th June 2019

The five year Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan (NPPP) has almost reached the half way mark and the Park Authority and several key partners have been meeting to discuss progress on some of the main objectives.

The NPPP is the overarching management plan for the Cairngorms National Park. It sets out how all those with a responsibility for the Park will co-ordinate their work to tackle the most important issues over a five year period.

The current plan was launched in 2017 and aims to deliver a wide range of outcomes including the delivery of 200 new affordable houses, an increase in woodland expansion, more restoration of peatlands, investments in the Deeside area and supporting more volunteering opportunities.

In a report to the CNPA board on Friday (14th June) the 2018-2019 NPPP update reveals good progress across the main areas of work in conservation, visitor experience and rural development.

Consent has been given for 105 affordable homes since 31st March 2018 and working with partners, the CNPA is involved in a variety of community-led housing projects in places like Boat of Garten, Braemar, Tomintoul and Dulnain Bridge.

Conservation efforts are bearing fruit with increasing investment in peatland restoration, riparian woodland creation and the Cairngorms Capercaillie project – a Heritage Lottery Fund and LEADER funded project which aims to get more people involved in caring for and wanting to conserve this rare bird.

Visitors, especially in the east of the Park are being well catered for with the rebuilt Fife Arms Hotel and the new Highland Games Centre in Braemar as well as the rebuilding of the Old Royal Station in Ballater following a devastating fire in 2015. The Heritage Lottery funded Tomintoul and Glenlivet Landscape Partnership Project, supported by the CNPA, is delivering a number of visitor facing projects such as a new visitor centre and bird hide, as well as the area being awarded Dark Skies status. With all of these attractions and more connected by the SnowRoads Scenic Route, the area is seeing an increase in the number of visitors.

Xander McDade, CNPA Convener commented: “The eastern Cairngorms were affected badly by flooding in December 2015 – compounded by the fire at the Old Royal Station – so it was important that we focused our collective efforts on what we could do to help ensure a robust  tourism sector in that area of the Park. We set a target of increasing the economic impact of visitors to the Eastern Cairngorms from 21 per cent to 25 per cent and already the latest estimates show that the value of this sector in the eastern and southern areas of the Cairngorms National Park has increased to 22.8 per cent of the total Park visitor economy.”

Grant Moir, Chief Executive of the CNPA said: “I am very pleased with the progress that is being made but we still have some way to go before 2022 and the context in which the NPPP is being delivered has changed since it was launched in 2017, such as the climate change emergency announced by the Scottish Government and the recent report on biodiversity loss. This will impact on where we focus resources over the next three years.”

You can read the interactive report detailing the latest information on the National Park Partnership Plan here.

The partners involved in the most recent CNPA Board meeting were Aberdeenshire Council, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Forestry and VisitScotland.